KERALA BLASTERS FC came from behind to beat Delhi Dynamos FC 2 – 1 in Hero Indian Super League (ISL) 2017-18 at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in Kochi on Saturday. Kalu Uche gave the Lions the lead from the spot in the first half, before Deependra Negi’s strike and Iain Hume’s penalty in the second period secured all three points for the home side. Pratik Chowdhary was also shown a red towards the end of the game after picking up a second yellow.
The game had a good flow to begin with as both teams took turns to get into the final third. The hosts fashioned the first opportunity of the game in the 12th minute when a defensive clearance fell for Milan Singh and he unleashed a rasping effort along the ground from long range. Custodian Arnab Das Sharma managed to keep out the stinging drive, and when Iain Hume turned in the rebound, he was flagged offside.
Kerala were then really let off the hook in the 27th minute. Matias Mirabaje latched on to a loose ball and let fly. The ball took a deflection off a defender and seemed to be looping in, but goalkeeper Subhasish Roy came up with a brilliant finger-tip save.
The Lions took the lead five minutes after the half-hour mark. After Prasanth K pulled Seityasen Singh down in the box to concede a penalty, Uche stepped up and gave Roy no chance with his well-taken spot-kick.
The hosts nearly found an equaliser two minutes before the break. Jackichand Singh laid off the ball for Milan to take a powerful shot from the edge of the box, following which the ball missed the target by inches. That happened to be the last chance of the half as the visitors went into the break with a one-goal advantage.
After the restart, Kerala took just three minutes to equalise. Jackichand’s attempted cross was looping in towards goal, and Arnab tipped it behind for a corner. The former took the resulting corner from which substitute Negi stuck out his leg to put the ball in the back of the net.
Ten minutes later, Negi nearly got a second. Lalruatthara put in the cross and the 19-year-old tried to flick it into the goal with his head and ended up just missing the target. The 72nd minute saw substitute Nandhakumar Sekar deliver a delightful cross from the right. Uche’s header though, went over the target.
With a quarter of an hour remaining, Kerala went ahead. Chowdhary clipped and brought down Negi in the box, and Hume stepped up and scored from the resulting penalty, sending Arnab the wrong way.
Five minutes from time, two substitutes combined as Loken Meitei swung in a cross from the right, and Kerala’s new signing Gudjon Baldvinsson attempted a spectacular volley. The Icelander, however, could not connect properly.
The night then ended on a sour note for Delhi as Chowdhary got booked for a second bookable offence deep into injury time to receive his marching orders. It proved to be the last bit of action from the match as the Blasters climbed to the fifth spot with the win.