Punjab FC marched ahead in their path of progress with a sensational 3-1 win over Kerala Blasters FC at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in Kochi in the Indian Super League (ISL) 2023-24 tonight. Often hailed as the bastion of the Yellow Army, Ivan Vukomanovic & Co. faced their first home defeat whereas Punjab FC picked their inaugural win on the road in the current ISL campaign.

The home side rode on their resounding support to peg Punjab FC back by creating key chances in the first half. Local boy Rahul KP squandered a sublime opportunity to draw the first blood after Daiksuke Sakai spotted him inside the box from a distance and swirled in a precise delivery. The forward had ample time to jump high, but he was unable to keep his headed effort on target.

However, central defender Milos Drincic ensured that the team didn’t regret Rahul’s missed opportunity for too long. Stationed upfront for a corner kick, Drincic pounced upon a hasty clearance by opposition custodian Ravi Kumar before drilling home a shot that gave the home side a lead in the 39th minute.

That joy didn’t last long though, as Punjab FC stormed back into the game, thanks to the recent boost they have received in the form of striker Wilmar Jordan Gil. The forward’s primal goal-scoring instincts came through brilliantly when he lapped upon a pass by Madih Talal in the final third, completed a quick turn to beat his marker and smashed the ball past Sachin Suresh to equalise the scores in the 42nd minute.

The striker roared the visitors back and overcame the deficit in the 61st minute, again, with Talal’s support. The Kerala Blasters FC defence didn’t embrace the most organised of looks and hence Talal didn’t show any mercy in bringing down a long ball inside the left side of the box and launching a cross for Gill on the far post. The forward was on target yet again, leaving Sachin little chance to do the saving graces. Any little hope of a Kerala Blasters FC comeback washed away with Slovenian striker Luka Majcen converting a spot-kick in the 88th minute. Unfortunately for Jordan, he was substituted out in the 75th minute and was hence unable to secure a well-deserved hat-trick in Punjab FC colours.

Key Performer of the Match

Wilmar Jordan Gil (Punjab FC)

The forward completed 12 out of his 13 passes and created three goal-scoring opportunities in addition to intercepting once. However, his sharp striking skills stole the show as this brace will build significant confidence in the Punjab FC ranks for the coming games.

What’s next for both teams?

Kerala Blasters FC and Punjab FC will face Jamshedpur FC and Chennaiyin FC on February 15 and 16 for their respective next matches.

Brief Scores

Punjab FC 3 (Wilmar Jordan Gil 42’ 61’, Luka Majcen 88’) - 1 Kerala Blasters FC (Milos Drincic 39’)