Kerala Blasters FC produced a thorough entertainer for their home fans as they scored twice in the first half to go past Mumbai City FC by 2-0 with ease at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in Kochi in the Indian Super League (ISL) 2023-24 tonight.

Poised to struggle in the absence of skipper Adrian Luna, the team swept aside those concerns with their forward duo of Dimitrios Diamantakos and Kwame Peprah joining hands to beat the Islanders and get level on points (23) with the top-placed FC Goa.

Peprah, 23, and his 30-year-old Greek teammate made light work of the Mumbai City FC defensive unit, outpacing them and also demonstrating slick footwork, and impeccable decision making inside the final third to tear the visitors’ backline apart.

In the 11th minute, Peprah broke into the left side of the penalty box, taking on Rostyn Griffiths and manoeuvring a crowded backline to deliver a pass to Diamantakos. The striker somehow got to the end of the delivery and scraped it into the back of the net to give Kerala Blasters FC an early lead.

Their domestic counterpart Rahul KP soon began actively participating in the proceedings, trying to hammer a shot past Phurba Lachenpa minutes before the half-time break, but failing to hit the target. The Islanders must have sniffed a chance to get back, but Ivan Vukomanovic and his men ensured that they didn’t bring down the momentum and waves of offensive pressure that they were inflicting on the opposition.

Peprah has been one of the most impactful additions to the Kerala Blasters FC squad this season. The Ghanaian has joined a list of other young internationals like Rei Tachikawa (25), Cy Goddard (26), Milos Drincic (24), amongst others who are bringing about a tectonic shift by making the ISL their home at the peak of his careers.

The sharpness in his skill set reflected in his strike which was the second successful one of the night for the home side. Diamantakos warded off the duo of Mehtab Singh and Lalengmawia Ralte to play a pass to Peprah in the middle of the box. In one take, the striker dispatched the ball into the back of the net late in the added time of the first half, showing tremendous finishing finesse and a sense of agility in his style of play that is incredible to watch.

Vukomanovic and his tactical nous kicked in during the second half, as he ensured that his backline consolidated to cap off with a clean sheet and induce upon Mumbai City FC their opening defeat of the season.

Key Performer of the Match

Kwame Peprah (Kerala Blasters FC)

Peprah tackled thrice, made four interceptions, one interception, in addition to earning two fouls and bagging a goal and an assist each to secure an emphatic victory for Kerala Blasters FC.

What’s next for both teams?

Kerala Blasters FC will next square off against the Mohun Bagan Super Giant at the Salt Lake Stadium on December 27. Mumbai City FC will be hosting Chennaiyin FC the following day, i.e. December 28.

Brief Scores

Kerala Blasters FC 2 (Dimitrios Diamantakos 11’, Kwame Peprah 45+5’) – 0 Mumbai City FC