ISL 2018-19: Kerala Blasters vs Chennaiyin FC, Hits and Flops - Jeje Lalpekhlua flatters to deceive
The Kerala Blasters put an end to their dismal 14-game winless streak with a convincing 3-0 win over bottom-placed Chennaiyin FC at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in Kochi on Friday in the Hero Indian Super League (ISL). Nelo Vingada's men deservedly secured maximum points to put an end to several hoodoos including their agonizing record at home that had seen them go without a win in 384 days.
Matej Poplatnik completed a brace by scoring on either side of half time to give the hosts a healthy advantage before highly-rated local talent Sahal Abdul Samad netted his first senior goal for the club in the 71st minute to complete the rout and effectively put the result beyond any doubt.
Despite their impressive win over Bengaluru FC during their last outing, John Gregory's defending champions turned on an insipid display and were eventually beaten comfortably as Kerala Blasters finally played like a cohesive unit. The result helped Kerala leapfrog Delhi Dynamos, who have played a fewer game, while Chennaiyin continue to remain rock-bottom of the ISL league table.
Without further delay, let's take a closer look at the best and worst performers from the derby under the lights at the Jawahar Lal Nehru Stadium in Kochi:
#5 Hit - Slavisa Stojanovic
Slavisa Stojanovic worked in tandem with Matej Poplatnik to inflict serious damage on Chennaiyin FC on the night. The Serbian drifted wide and cut inside whenever required and contributed effectively to almost everything the hosts managed to create inside the opponent’s final third.
The 30-year-old was always available to receive the ball under pressure and made a few good runs behind the visitors’ defence to unsettle their rhythm early on in the game.
Despite not managing to get on the score-sheet, Stojanovic grabbed the assist for Poplatnik’s second goal of the night when he cut the ball back into the area and put it on a plate for his team-mate to finish in the 55th minute.
The forward also had a penalty appeal turned down which on further inspection from replays suggested that on another day, it could have even been given in his favour. Stojanovic was equally adept at tracking back and was seen deep in his own half at a few instances in the first half when Pritam Singh needed cover to deal with CK Vineeth in the wide areas.