Kerala Blasters defeat Jamshedpur 1-0 to extend winning streak

Kerala Blasters cemented their position in the top five

Kerala Blasters secured their fourth straight win of the 2022-23 Indian Super League season, as they handed Jamshedpur a 0-1 defeat here at the JRD Tata Sports Complex. The lone goal of the match was scored by Dimitrios Diamantakos.

After a 1-3 defeat at the hands of East Bengal, Jamshedpur head coach Aidy Boothroyd made our changes to his starting XI. Eli Sabia, Phijam Singh, Farukh Choudhary, and Ritwik Das came in place of Pratik Chaudhari, Jitendra Singh, Sekh Sahil, and Harry Sawyer respectively.

In the Kerala Blasters camp, however, the story was completely the opposite. Given that his team won 1-0 against defending champions Hyderabad in the last match, the Tuskers’ head coach Ivan Vukomanovic rolled an unchanged starting XI.

The Tuskers dominated the early stages of the game and could have opened the scoring as early as the 3rd minute when Ivan Kalyuzhnyi launched a cross into the box and found Sahal Abdul Samad, but the latter’s header was directed straight at TP Rehenesh under the Jamshedpur goal.

Three minutes later, Kalyuzhnyi himself had the opportunity to open the scoring when an Adrian Luna ball found him unmarked, but the Ukrainian’s volley was not on target. However, the incessant pressure eventually paid off as Vukomanovic’s team took the lead in the 17th minute.

From a free-kick, Luna found Diamantakos unmarked and the Australian striker made no mistake in making the scoreline 1-0. Luna could have had his second assist only three minutes later when his pass found Samad in a good position, but once again, the Indian midfielder could not utilize the chance.

Luna kept on pulling the strings from the midfield, and just after the half-hour mark, the Uruguayan showed his magic once again when he laid a delightful pass for Samad. However, for the third time on the night, the 25-year-old could not find precision.

Samad’s missed opportunities could have easily returned to haunt the Tuskers, as against the run of play, Jamshedpur had a great chance in the 37th minute. From a Jay Emmanuel Thomas pass, Ritwik launched a powerful shot but Kerala Blasters’ custodian, Prabhsukhan Gill was equal to the attempt.

Ivan Kalyuzhnyi was yet again influential for Kerala Blasters

Ivan Kalyuzhnyi was yet again influential for Kerala Blasters

The second half followed a similar theme as its predecessor, with Kerala Blasters getting an opportunity very early. Seeing Reheness standing off his line, Kalyuzhnyi tried a long ranger and almost found the back of the net, but his attempt missed the target by mere inches.

The Red Miners had their best opportunity of the match in the 60th minute. After receiving a pass from Ritwik, substitute Ishan Pandita did well to beat his marker to go one-on-one with the keeper but then ended up dragging his shot wide.

Six minutes later, it was the Tuskers’ turn to return the favour by squandering a chance. Sandeep Singh played a good ball into the box for Rahul KP, and while the youngster got to it, he blasted his shot over the crossbar.

Three minutes later, Boothroyd’s men almost made Kerala Blasters pay for their mistakes. A corner delivered by Thomas found Daniel Chima Chukwu unmarked inside the box, but the Nigerian marksman could not keep his shot on target.

The misses galore continued as three minutes later, Thomas himself joined the party by hitting a shot wide of the goal. The Englishman tried to redeem himself by delivering an inch-perfect cross in the 78th minute, but once again, Chukwu prevented him from getting an assist by blasting his shot over the goal.

The last chance of the game came in the 84th minute when Sawyer tried to penetrate inside the box. While he was stopped in his tracks, the ball eventually landed for Pandita who then struck his shot over the bar.

With this win, Kerala Blasters established themselves in the fifth position with 15 points from eight matches. They will now take on Bengaluru on Sunday while Jamshedpur, who remain in 10th position with four points, will face ATK Mohun Bagan on Thursday.