Blasters were coming off a goalless draw against Delhi Dynamos while Mumbai City FC were held to a 1-1 draw against Atletico de Kolkata in their last game.
The game erupted from the word go, as both teams looked to be in an attacking mindset. Kerala took the lead through a Michael Chopra goal and looked the more threatening side throughout. Coppell’s men managed to hold on to that lead to finally claim their first win of ISL 2016. Alexander Guimaraes, meanwhile, would be hoping his side jumps back after this poor defeat.
Take a look at the player ratings for the match:
Sandip Nandy: 6.5/10
The former Indian goalkeeper proved that age, in this game, is just another number. With another superb outing, the 41-year old showed why he can keep Graham Stack out of the starting XI. Confident collections, good distribution and telepathic coordination with the defence earned the veteran another clean sheet. There was a mix up between him and his captain at one point, but thankfully no harm was done.
Sandesh Jhingan: 7/10
Jhingan played more actively than he did in the last three games. With the return of marquee player Aaron Hughes, Jhingan was back to his favorite right-back position and already had his best match in this ISL. The India international looked confident at the back and delivered a lot of inviting deliveries into the box. He got turned inside out once in the second half by Sony Norde, but his skipper Aaron Hughes was on the goal-line to bail him out.
Cedric Hengbart: 8/10
The French defender had another strong outing in the backline. The former NorthEast United FC defender formed a formidable pairing with Aaron Hughes and looked completely in control of the proceedings. He won a lot of aerial balls and was the cornerstone of another Kerala clean sheet.
Aaron Hughes: 8/10
The marquee player returned from International duty to give coach Steve Coppell a little more freedom with the defensive structure. A confident performance on his ISL debut shows why the Northern Ireland defender is so highly rated throughout England. He also made a brilliant clearance from a Sony Norde chance to keep Mumbai goalless.
Mehtab Hossain: 7/10
Solid defensively, Hossain had his most active game in ISL-3 as of yet. The East Bengal midfielder played a little higher up the pitch and had more intensity to his game tonight. Hossain created chances and tried to hit a few pile-drivers too.
The Spanish winger looked equally calm, confident and imposing from the left back position. Playing at a makeshift position, the diminutive player showed a lot of his creative prowess, running down the flanks with consummate ease throughout the game. Josu contributed a lot in attack and played an aggressive game throughout.
Azrack Mahamat: 7/10
Mahamat was the main defensive midfielder for Steve Coppell’s side for this match. The Chad player showed his temperament well and broke a lot of opposition attacks. Kept Krisztian Vadocz silent for most of the game and intercepted a lot of key deliveries. Mahamat though fluffed a golden opportunity to get on the scoresheet after missing a brilliant chance created by Michael Chopra.
Mohammad Rafique: 6/10
The East Bengal midfielder had another good day in the office. Playing as a right-winger, the drifted into a central position more often than expected, giving Jhingan the much-needed space on the wings. Rafique provided a lot of good balls as his team went forward, but lacked the cutting edge at the end.
Michael Chopra: 8/10
The former Sunderland striker looked tired and slow in the beginning but grew well into the game. He provided support to Kervens Belfort and Mohammad Rafi well with some creative skills and well-knit passes. The former England youth international might have got a little lucky as the ball fell for him via a deflection in the box, but kept his calm and finished well. His attacking mentality paid off well for the Steve Coppell side.
Kervens Belfort: 7/10
The Haitian international started the game on the left wing but played in a more central position as the game progressed. Linking well with Chopra, Josu and Rafi, the striker created a lot of chances for the Men in Yellow. Steve Coppell would be cursing his luck, not starting the striker before this match. He was also responsible for playing the ball to Michael Chopra for Kerala’s goal.
Mohammad Rafi: 6/10
The former Atletico de Kolkata striker showed his quality as a striker in the box, yet again. Playing at the top of a three-man pivot, Rafi fed off from the supply well and should’ve scored on a few opportunities. With this performance, Rafi would be expected to do a lot of goal-scoring for the Sachin Tendulkar-owned side.
Ishfaq Ahmed: 5/10
Much was expected from the former Mohun Bagan winger, but he did not see a lot of the ball to affect proceedings.
Antonio German: 5/10
The English striker was dropped to the bench and would be ruing his luck. After coming on, Belfort could’ve created two opportunities for the German, but the Haitian misplaced his passes even with a lot of space.
Duckens Nazon: NA