Kerala Blasters FC 0-2 Mumbai City FC: Islanders punish errors to subject Tuskers to third consecutive loss | ISL 2022-23

Mehtab Singh celebrates scoring for Mumbai City FC against Kerala Blasters FC. [Credits: ISL]
Mehtab Singh celebrates scoring for Mumbai City FC against Kerala Blasters FC. [Credits: ISL]

Mumbai City FC picked up their second win of the 2022-23 ISL season by beating Kerala Blasters FC 2-0 at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in Kochi on Friday (October 28).

The Islanders kicked off proceedings in some fashion, getting a shot on target through Lallianzuala Chhangte in the opening 10 seconds. They didn't seem intimidated by the raucous Kochi crowd and thoroughly dominated the opening exchanges.

Barring Rahul KP, the Kerala Blasters struggled to kick themselves into any kind of rhythm going forward. Mumbai City kept hold of the ball and always seemed to find the open man. While they didn't carve out too many clear-cut chances in the opening 15 minutes, the visitors looked the more likely side to open the scoring.

They ultimately broke the deadlock in the 21st minute.

The Tuskers were all over the place while trying to defend Ahmed Jahouh's corner. Harmanjot Khabra made a meal of his attempted clearance at the front post and the ball eventually reached Mehtab Singh close to the penalty spot.

With no pressure on him, the Mumbai City centre-back lashed the ball into the back of the net through a crowd with his left foot. The Kerala Blasters had only themselves to blame as the Islanders took the lead.

Mehtab's goal saw Des Buckingham's side grow into the game as they began finding more space in midfield. A stunning ball from Greg Stewart even set Chhangte free in the box, but Victor Mongil mopped up brilliantly to prevent the goal-bound effort.

However, Mumbai City eventually got their second goal in the 31st minute. The Tuskers failed to close down Stewart, who found himself in space just outside the box. He tried to set up Jorge Pereyra Diaz, whose attempted flick seemed to be heading straight to Marko Leskovic.

Instead of clearing, Leskovic judged the ball poorly and his attempt to dispossess Pereyra Diaz with a sliding tackle was timid and half-hearted. The Islanders forward easily took the ball past the centre-back and slotted home past Prabhsukhan Gill to make it 2-0 to the visitors.

The goal finally seemed to awaken the Kerala Blasters from their slumber and their best chances of the half came shortly after Pereyra Diaz's goal. Adrian Luna first forced a save from Phurba Lachenpa with a well-struck free-kick. The Mumbai City custodian made a more comfortable stop from Rahul's near-post effort as well.

Overall, though, the Islanders enjoyed a fairly comfortable first half and went into the break with a deserved lead.


Kerala Blasters improve in 2nd half but Mumbai City see out win to continue unbeaten streak in ISL 2022-23

The Kerala Blasters came out with much more energy and drive in the second half as they looked to overturn a two-goal deficit. They pressed higher up the pitch and also forced a couple of errors from the Mumbai City defense.

Dimitrios Diamantakos received the first two chances of the half. He first put a header wide from Luna's cross before forcing a fantastic save from Lachenpa after a mistake from Rahul Bheke. The resulting corner was a dangerous one and found Jeakson Singh unmarked in the box, but the midfielder headed it wide.

The Islanders weathered the storm for a while after that, blocking multiple shots, before creating a chance of their own from Stewart's free-kick. However, Mehtab, who did well to get to the ball, headed it over.

The hosts responded with one of their best passages of play after the Mumbai City defender's miss. A fabulous passing move saw the ball reach Luna inside the box. The forward fired a superb volley with his left foot but the ball came back off the crossbar.

Kerala won the ball back once again and Jessel Carneiro whipped in a peach of a cross for Rahul KP. However, the forward, who got the fans out of their seats with some silky skill moves prior to that, headed wide of the far post.

Mumbai City got one last chance to add a third on the counter late on as an error from the Kerala Blasters let Chhangte through on goal. However, the forward fired wide of Prabhsukhan Gill's post.

It proved to be the final clear-cut opportunity for either team as the Islanders took home all three points. They maintained their unbeaten start to the ISL 2022-23 season and have picked up two wins and two draws from their first four matches.

The Kerala Blasters, meanwhile, fell to their third consecutive defeat after a bright start to the season. Ivan Vukomanovic's men have plenty to work on if they are to get back to the highs of last season.

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Edited by Anantaajith Raghuraman
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