Kerala Blasters picked up their first win of the Indian Super League (ISL) 2020-21 as they beat Hyderabad FC 2-0 convincingly at the GMC Stadium in Bambolim. However, the team remained at the ninth position in the points table, with 6 points from 7 matches.
Abdul Hakku broke the deadlock for the Kerala Blasters in the 29th minute of the match with his header from a corner-kick. Hyderabad FC surged forward and looked threatening to score an equalizer.
However, Jordan Murray dashed all their hopes to score the insurance goal. In the 88th minute of the match, he struck the ball with so much venom that the Hyderabad FC goalkeeper had no chance to save it.
Here are 4 things we learned from the Kerala Blasters vs Hyderabad FC match.
#4 Sahal Abdul Samad looked off-color playing in an unfamiliar position for Kerala Blasters
Kerala Blasters' head coach Kibu Vicuna deployed Sahal Abdul Samad in an unfamiliar left-wing position. The youngster looked uncomfortable and conceded possession cheaply.
As the game progressed, Sahal became more frustrated and committed needless fouls. The referee had enough of it and booked him in the 20th minute of the match itself.
Sahal tried to dribble past Hyderabad FC right-back Asish Rai on a couple of occasions, but the defender held his lines. Apart from a defense-splitting pass to Jordan Murray on one occasion, he looked highly off-color and was taken off in the 79th minute.
#3 Aridane Santana's missed chances cost Hyderabad FC
Hyderabad FC began the match by deploying Aridane Santana as the lone striker upfront. The Spaniard was presented with many opportunities, but he failed to capitalize on them.
In the 22nd minute of the match, Yasir squared the ball to Santana, but his tame finish let Hyderabad FC down. In the dying minutes of the first half, Asish Rai put the ball in the platter for him. But, Santana got his connection all wrong again.
#2 Kibu Vicuna's bold decisions pay off
Kerala Blasters' head coach Kibu Vicuna made five changes to the starting line-up from their last ISL match where they held SC East Bengal. Both the foreign center-backs Bakary Kone and Costa Nhamoinesu didn't even feature in the playing squad as Sandeep Singh and Abdul Hakku replaced them.
Rohit Kumar, Gary Hooper, and Seityasen Singh also made their way out for Sahal Abdul Samad, Jordan Murray, and Jeakson Singh. The move paid dividends as the two new faces scored goals for Kerala Blasters.
Jeakson performed like a rock as a defensive midfielder while Sandeep Singh put his body in the line while dealing with crosses.
#1 Hyderabad FC's ambition to finish inside the top four takes a backseat
Hyderabad FC could have leapfrogged into the fourth position of the ISL points table if they picked up the victory over Kerala Blasters. But they now occupy the eighth spot with just 9 points from 7 matches.
At the onset of the season, their Indian contingent looked impressive. However, they looked clueless against the Kerala Blasters. Liston Colaco couldn't create a single chance in the match.
Chinglensana Singh, Asish Rai, and Akash Mishra looked disjointed in the defensive unit as Odei Onaindia had to make up for their mistakes.Published 27 Dec 2020, 23:02 IST