Kerala Blasters FC began their 2023 Hero Super Cup campaign with an impressive 3-1 win over Hero I-League Champions RoundGlass Punjab FC at the EMS Stadium in Kozhikode, Kerala on Saturday.

The Blasters registered a succession of chances in the opening half but only found the net once with Dimitrios Diamantakos converting from the penalty spot to give them a deserved half-time lead before Nishu Kumar made it 2-0 in the 54th minute. The opposition pulled one back in the 72nd minute through substitute Krishnananda Singh but it was not enough as substitute Rahul KP put the game into bed in stoppage time to seal three points for the Yellow Army.

It had been a lively start to the game that set the tone for the whole match. The Kochi-based side got involved in a lot of attacking moves on their part. In the 34th minute, Saurav Mandal made a daunting run through the right channel, before he laid it off for Sahal Abdul Samad but the latter failed to hit the target in a 1-on-1 situation.

Six minutes later, Mandal tried to exploit the opponent's defence as he was brought down inside the penalty area and the referee pointed straight to the spot. Diamantakos made no mistake and calmly slotted it into the left bottom corner to give Blasters’ the lead!

The Tuskers started the second half in a similar fashion as they extended the lead ten minutes into the second half. Danish Farooq played a pin-point diagonal pass for Samad but the midfielder failed to control it properly before Nishu Kumar took control of the loose ball and curled it into the bottom corner to make it 2-0.

In the 72nd minute, RoundGlass Punjab FC reduced the deficit when Juan Mera displayed impressive footwork down the right flank before taking a shot that took a deflection and fell straight to Krishnananda Singh who found the back of the net with a thunderous volley. The side almost found the equaliser six minutes later through Mera who took a blistering shot but it hit the woodwork.

In the dying minutes of the game, substitute Rahul KP made a darting solo run and made it 3-1 for the Blasters with a composed finish.

Kerala Blasters FC will be back in action again on Wednesday when they take on Sreenidi Deccan FC at the EMS Stadium.

Bengaluru FC settle for a draw against Sreenidi Deccan FC

In the previous fixture of Group A, Bengaluru FC settled for points in a 1-1 draw against Sreenidi Deccan FC at the EMS Stadium, in Kozhikode, Kerala on Saturday.

The Blues dominated the earlier proceedings and went ahead early on in the ninth minute. Javi Hernandez saw his initial shot saved by the goalkeeper, and the shot-stopper parried away the following attempt from Roy Krishna, but Hernandez made no mistake on the third attempt as he slapped it into the roof of the net to make it 1-0.

Sreenidi Deccan FC responded well and got the equaliser just over twelve minutes later when their Afghan international Faysal Shayesteh picked a pass from Rilwan Hassan in the box and he cut it back in before unleashing a shot that deflected off Parag Shrivas and went into the back of the net.

The two sides continued to create some good chances in the second half but couldn’t find a way to get the winning goal.

Bengaluru FC will aim for their first win in their upcoming match against RoundGlass Punjab FC on Wednesday.