A crucial first leg of a crucial semi-final in the Hero Indian Super League (ISL) and it was the local lad Sahal Abdul Samad who scored the winner to take his side, Kerala Blasters FC, ahead in the encounter against Jamshedpur FC on Friday at PJN Stadium, Fatorda.

After a throw-in, Alvaro Vazquez saw Sahal make the run inside the box, and scooped it brilliantly to him. An advancing TP Rehnesh strategised to make himself big, but Sahal’s clever chip over his head proved to be the winner.

“Yes, to be honest, I expected that ball. I blindly made that run and I got the ball just in front of me. I am thankful to God that I got the goal and I helped the team. Now nothing is over yet, we still have one half to go. We will continue to work hard and will be focused on the next game,” said Sahal in the post-match interview.

With this goal, Sahal has taken his tally of goals this season to six along with an assist – his most prolific season yet.

“This has been one of the best seasons for me in every way. Goalscoring way, the way the team has played according to the plans of the coach. I am really happy for the team and very proud to help the team in each way,” added Sahal.

Match Report: Sahal Abdul Samad gives Kerala Blasters FC the advantage in finely-poised semi-final

Sahal has found himself playing amongst the pantheon of Adrian Luna, Jorge Diaz and Vazquez who have prodded him with inputs to further better himself with each passing game.

“Yes, it is pretty easy to play with foreign and experienced players, especially, Alvaro, Diaz and Luna in the team. They always teach us something. Even the little parts help us in every way. This is something Alvaro tells me when I come short, that I make the run and I am happy that I got the goal today.”

Kerala Blasters FC will enter the arena once again against Jamshedpur FC in the second leg of the semi-final on Tuesday, 15th March.