Kerala Blasters have won a football game and it’s a big deal for the right reasons…
The Yellow Army had been defeated by Odisha who picked up their first win of the season in their previous match and it had been a night to forget for Kibu Vicuna and his players.
And on Sunday, they were up against a team whom they had never defeated before. The odds were stacked against Blasters but the team managed to register their second win of the season at the end of a five-goal thriller.
The victory was by no means straightforward and easy. Blasters had their fair share of nerve-racking moments throughout the game. But at the end of the ninety minutes, Vicuna had pocketed three points and that was what the fans were looking forward to the most.
The game was a closely-fought contest, not just because of the final scoreline of 3-2. Jamshedpur completed 221 successful passes compared to Kerala’s 197, held 51 per cent of the ball and had five shots on target while Blasters had seven. The numbers were close but Blasters created the better chances and were the deserved winners.
Blasters have had a habit of conceding leads after the break this season but there was a welcome change against Jamshedpur. Costa Nhamoinesu’s header and Nerijus Valskis’ free-kick meant the sides were level when they came out of the tunnel for the second half.
A poor challenge by Lalruatthara in the 67th minute was punished with a second yellow and Blasters were reduced to 10 men. The story of the game was going in a direction that Blasters supporters were a little too familiar with but the side didn’t capitulate, also thanks to poor defending and a horrific goalkeeping error from TP Rehenesh.
Jordan Murray turned hero by scoring two quick goals. First, the impressive Facundo Pereyra dribbled into the box and forces a save off TP Rehenesh who pushed the ball into the path of the Australian striker. The former A-League forward found the net easily to give Blasters the lead.
The 10-man team were then gifted a two-goal cushion by their former player Rehenesh who fumbled a straightforward pass inside the box and allowed Murray to slot home the easiest goal he will score this season.
Blasters had struck a hammer blow against Jamshedpur with just 10 men. However, their performance wasn’t faultless. Valskis, who has more goal contributions against Blasters than any other ISL club, ghosted into the box to head home a cross and set up a nervous end to the game.
But once again, Kerala Blasters’ spirit helped them to hold on to their lead. Up against the Men of Steel, Blasters’ display had a lot of steel in it. VIcuna will only hope it’s not a one-off.