Kerala Blasters FC registered their first win of Indian Super League (ISL) 2020-21 with a 2-0 result against Hyderabad FC at the GMC Bambolim Stadium in Goa. Abdul Hakku put Kerala ahead in the first half before Jordan Murray capped off a fantastic team performance with his first-ever ISL goal in the dying minutes of the game.
Under-fire Hyderabad FC miss a few chances in first half
The game took a few minutes to pick up the pace as players from both sides struggled to stitch passes. It was Hyderabad FC who made the first mistake as Asish Rai failed to control a long ball.
Having pressed Asish, Kerala Blasters' Sahal Abdul Samad could have taken a shot but his attempt to cross was blocked by Odei Onaindia. Just a minute later, Hyderabad FC had a possible penalty appeal as Aridane Santana was pushed by Nishu Kumar. The Spaniard was looking to meet a cross from Halicharan Narzary when it happened.
Santana was in the spotlight once again in the 22nd minute when he came up with a very soft shot after some superb work from Mohammad Yasir. Five minutes later, Hyderabad FC were made to pay when Abdul Hakku got the better of Asish Rai to score the goal from a Facundo Pereyra corner-kick. The build-up to it was controversial as Joao Victor and Odei Onaindia argued that the ball took the final touch of the Kerala Blasters forward.
After the cooling break, Hyderabad FC had a really good phase but Liston Colaco failed to convert his shots. Even the skipper Santana was guilty of missing a superb chance when Asish Rai found him with a fine low cross into the six-yard box.
Hyderabad FC's defense puts up an underwhelming performance in second half
After the half-time interval, Hyderabad FC’s defense looked even more brittle. The likes of Jessel Carneiro and Sahal Abdul Samad kept getting good chances to either come up with a cross or a shot.
Then, a deep long ball gave Jordan Murray a half opportunity at scoring his first goal but the Aussie couldn’t control the ball. Hyderabad FC did have a couple of chances against the run of play but the Kerala Blasters FC defense stood tall.
With the equalizer not in sight, manager Manuel Roca made a few substitutions. The experienced Fran Sandaza got a fantastic opportunity in the 87th minute. Abdul Hakku slipped in the final third and this allowed Sandaza through on goal, but Albino Gomes came up with a fine save to keep the lead intact.
Kerala Blasters then doubled their lead a minute later through Rohit Kumar’s cross which was aimed for Rahul KP. The ball took a deflection off Adil Khan in his duel with Rahul KP and it sat up nicely for Murray. The latter sweetly struck a volley to shut the doors for Hyderabad FC.
This performance from Kerala Blasters wasn’t eye-catchy, but it gave them their first win at a crucial juncture of the season.
ISL 2020-21, KBFC vs HFC: Who was the Hero of the Match
The young defensive midfielder Jeakson Singh was named the ‘Hero of the Match’ for his neat performance in front of the all-Indian backline. Having scored a goal to earn a point against SC East Bengal, Jeakson Singh earned a well-deserved start this time.
The 2017 U-17 World Cup star worked really hard to come up with three successful tackles, two clearances, and three interceptions. Jeakson also showed good footwork and vision to get out of tight spaces. His confidence on the ball helped Sandeep Singh and Abdul Hakku to a massive extent.Published 28 Dec 2020, 01:03 IST