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That was an unconvincing performance from Kerala - but that front four of theirs look like they are all clicking into form. They really missed Mehtab's presence in the middle, but he'll be back for the Semifinals.
NorthEast have been excellent value throughout the season - but they showed what they were missing in this game... killer instinct.
Thank you for reading! Anirudh Menon signing out for the night
The semifinals read like this -
Mumbai vs. Kolkata
Kerala vs. Delhi
PEEP! PEEP! PEEP! FULL TIME!
KERALA WIN 1 - 0 AND THEY ARE THROUGH TO THE SEMIFINALS! C.K. VINEETH, AS IS HIS WONT, IS THE MATCHWINNER
95' Rafi is caught miles offside but it doesn't matter...
94' German tries to run into the empty NorthEast half, but a sliding Zokora puts him off and the ball runs out of play. NorthEast lose the ball immediately and Kerala take it to the corner.
93' Rafi hacks a loose Zokora pass miles away. North East are back with Seityasen, but even he seems to have lost his zest.
91' Kadio concedes a freekick as he an Vineeth try to run down the clock. Reagan pumps it long, but Alfaro concedes a cheap one. Hengbart sends the ball all the way back to the NorthEast corner flag
90' FOUR MINUTES ADDED ON
89' Vineeth, German and Kadio combine to release Rafi down the left. The sprightly 35 year old flies on to it - before he is sent flying into the air with an ugly Reagan challenge. Thats a yellow and another freekick 90 yards away from where NorthEast want the ball to be.
88' Romaric is losing it. He yells at the ref for something or the other and it's a yellow. Could have been worse, but Zokora pulls him away from further trouble. Why are all the most experience men losing their heads?
87' The corner is played short, before Vineeth sends a teasing ball in...AND OH MY GOD! RAFI SENDS IN AN EXCELLENT HEADER AND REHANESH PULLS OFF THE SAVE OF THE TOURNAMENT AS HE TIPS IT ON TO THE BAR! MAGNIFICIENT FOOTBALL ALL AROUND!
86' UFF German has another pop - and this time he brings out a wonderful save from Rehanesh.
85' GOOOOOOOOOOOOO... NO NO! German is played through on goal and he calmly knocks it under Rehanesh. BUT HE IS PENALISED FOR A FOUL ON REAGAN SINGH! HUGE CALL FROM THE REF
84' Alfaro twists and turns before smacking a shot that careens of the OUTSIDE OF THE POST! OH MY! THAT WAS SO CLOSE!!!
83' ANOTHER SEITYASEN SHOT THAT SAILS INCHES HIGH!!! UFF! JUST GIVE THE BALL TO HIM EVERY TIME NORTHEAST!
82' Mailson Alves is playing centre-forward now - they really have nothing to lose. But their passing lacks any sort of urgency. Till Seityasen takes things into his own feet and races at Jhingan. He beats him with contemptous ease and flashes a pass THAT NO ONE CAN GET ON TO!
81' Corner for NorthEast after Seityasen has been blocked off by Jhingan yet again. The set piece delivery is excellent and Mailson ALVES NAILS A HEADER ON GOAL!
It's straight at Stack, though
80' Vineeth has another SMACK!! HE SHOOTS AT THE NEAR POST THIS TIME, BUT REHENESH DIVES DOWN WELL TO SAVE!
79' AYE ZOKORA. Keep your head man - he goes to push Belfort off the field faster; but that just leads in a yellow for both men and another minute that went completely wasted.
78' The ball is played around a bit before it lands at ROBERT'S FEET! THE IRISH-JAPANESE SMACKS IT WELL WIDE! Decent half-chance, I must say. Meanwhile Coppell makes a pragmatic change and takes off the excellent Belfort for Kadio
77' Vineeth and Rafi play it amongst themselves before the former lifts a weak ball into the NE box. The red army moves forward with menace, but the human wall that is Aaron Hughes is proving impossible to breach
76' Belfort goes on another gander down the left - but Reagan stands his ground this time. The ball is worked back to VIneeth and the goalscorer wins a cheap foul off Priori
75' THAT WAS ALMOST TWO! BELFORT LEADS ANOTHER COUNTER AND HE DUMPS REAGAN ON THE FLOOR WITH A SUPERB TOUCH BEFORE LAYING IT OFF TO GERMAN. THE SUBSTITUTE'S FIRST TIME SHOT IS WELL SAVED BY REHANESH! This is proper end to end no.
73' Substitution - Antonio German ON for Duckens Nazon. Meanwhile Seityasen tries to sell Jhingan a dummy or two - but the bearded enigma ain't buying. He does concede a corner though - nothing much comes off it
72' WOOF! BELFORT!!! Nazon and Belfort lead a 2 on 2 counter after a Robert Cullen run is stopped in his tracks by Pratik. BELFORT SMACKS A SHOT STRAIGHT AT THE GOALIE, AND HE DOES WELL TO SAVE
71' Kerala's forwards are on their scooters now and Belfort wins a throw deep in Rory Delap territory. Hengbart spoils everything for the men in Yellow by wafting a lazy ball straight through to Rehanesh
69' Alfaro runs onto a ball and smacks a shot at goal that Hengbart blocks with a spectacular tackle! Oh and Hello! Kitchen sink - Gurung goes off and Narzary comes on.
68' If there was a roof on this stadium, it would have been taken off already by the wall of noise emanating from the stands. Nazon goes on a gander down the left but his shot lacks power and direction.
It had to be him, eh! The Kerala man skipped inside and hit a low shot that skidded into the far corner. That could have been saved by Rehanesh, I feel - but Vineeth made his own fortune there.
66' GOOOOOAAAL!!! CK VINEEEEEEEEETH!
65' Official attendance is at 53,597 and they rise in chorus as......
64' OOOOOO ISHFAQ PLAYS IN NAZON and he makes a beeline for goal but the Haitian is miles offside
63' Seityasen and Alfaro are creating all sorts of trouble on the Kerala right but Jhingan and Hughes close a massive yellow door in their faces. Romaric tries to circumvent all that by playing it in high, and Seityasen (who timed his run to perfection) almost keeps it in!! Kerala really need to grip on the slippery NorthEast winner
62' Yusa swings it in, Romaric loops a header forward and Stack gathers comfortably. Surprisingly, Yusa is taken off and Handsome's Robert Cullen strolls on
61' SUBSTITUTION - Pratik Chaudhary replaces the hopeless Rino Anto - he looks a touch relieved to be honest. Meanwhile it's a corner for North East
60' NorhtEast come back immediately and Alfaro has a whack at goal that brings out the best in Stack!!! AND THEN HIGH COMEDY AS ALFARO PULLS DOWN JHINGAN'S SHORTS -WHAT THE... - IF DZEKO GOT SENT OFF FOR THAT WHY IS ALFARO STILL ON THE PITCH? It's a yellow for both for the handbags they engaged in
59' OH VINEETH. HE CAREENS INTO THE BOX IN THAT INIMITABLE STYLE OF HIS AND SKINS MAILSON ALVES, BUT ZOKORA IS UP TO THE CHALLENGE!
58' UFF! UFF! ALFARO ALMOST NIPS IN AHEAD OF STACK AFTER SPINNING HUGHES AND RUNNING ONTO A SUPERB YUSA THROUGH BALL - BUT STACK IS MORE THAN UPTO IT. Great football all round.
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