A clinical display by Kerala Blasters saw them humble Chennaiyin FC 3-0. Two quick fire goals, inside two minutes in the first half and one late goal around the 90th minute marker, meant Kerala would beat Chennaiyin FC, in the first leg of their semi-final encounter.
The first leg of the South Indian Derby, between Kerala Blasters and Chennaiyin FC , saw some strange decisions, in the starting line-up of both contingents. Kerala Blasters started with a 4-4-2 formation and missed stalwart Sandesh Jhigan. Although Mehtab Hossain returned back to the starting XI, two key absentees were skipper David James and Penn Orji.
Kerala surprisingly started with the strike-force of Michael Chopra and Iain Hume. Chopra has only featured for Kerala six times, and starting him in place of Milagres Gonsalves, was a gamble taken by David James.
Chenniyin FC had their own surprises in the form of the returning Elano. The visitors lined up in a 5-3-2 formation and played with 5 defenders at the back. Elano came back into the starting eleven, and replaced the in-form Bruno Pellisari. The attacking duo of Jeje and Balwant Singh once again led the line for Chennaiyin FC.
Kerala come out flying
Powered by crowd support, Kerala Blasters kicked off proceedings in the South Indian Derby and started the match on a high note. Stephen Pearson constantly tested Chennaiyin’s left flank and started dominating proceedings there. Pearson, crossed in a sublime ball in for Ishfaq Ahmed, only to be cleared away by Dhana Singh.
After an opening duel, wherein the home side dominated proceedings, the visitors surged back. Although their resurgence was cut short by two quick fire goals from the Kerala Blasters side, inside two minutes,
After a disallowed goal, Kerala Blasters took the lead through Ishfaq Ahmed and soon doubled their lead with a clinical finish from Iain Hume. Two goals in less than two minutes, led the home side to a solid scoreline of 2-0.
Kerala sit back, hit Chennai on the counter
The second half started with the visitors, chasing the fixture, down by two goals. Chennayin FC poured men forward in order to gain equalise the tie, but were regularly held out by Sandip Nandy. Nandy, was in red hot form and denied Chennaiyin FC, a sniff at goal – even though the Indian veteran was tested time after time.
Chennaiyin’s attacking play, vacated spaces which the home side capitalized on, and attacked via counters. The dying embers of the match, witnessed Chennaiyin in all out attack and this was taken advantage off by the home side, who scored another goal in the 90th minute to extend their lead to three goals.Published 13 Dec 2014, 22:01 IST