Kerala Blasters thump Jamshedpur 3-1 with overseas stars shining

Adrian Luna celebrates after scoring Kerala Blasters’ third goal against Jamshedpur

Kerala Blasters strolled past Jamshedpur 3-1 to kick start their new year on a winning note in the 2022-23 ISL at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in Kochi. Apostolos Giannou, Dimitrios Diamantakos, and Adrian Luna scored a goal each for the home side.  

Kerala Blasters started with a 4-4-2 formation as Prabhsukhan Singh Gill guarded the sticks. Sandeep Singh, Hormipam Ruivah, Marko Leskovic, and Jessel Carneiro formed the back four to compose the defense. Rahul KP, Jeakson Singh, Adrian Luna, and Sahal Abdul Samad played as the midfielders entrusted with supplying balls to Apostolos Giannou and Dimitrios Diamantakos. 

Jamshedpur took the field with a 3-5-2 formation as Vishal Yadav donned the gloves. Muhammad Uvais, Eli Sabia, and Pratik Chaudhari formed the back three with Ricky Lallawmawma and Boris Thangjam operating as wing-backs. Jay Emmanuel Thomas, Phijam Vikash Singh, and Rafael Crivellaro played in the centre of the pitch to support the two strikers Daniel Chukwu and Ishan Pandita. 

Kerala Blasters looked threatening as early as the fifth minute when Sahal combined with Rahul on the right flank to play a one-two pass. Sahal unleashed the first shot in the game which was deflected away by a defender. Diamantakos whipped in a cross from the left flank a minute later and the resultant shot from Luna was blocked again. 

Diamantakos finally got his much-needed assist in the 9th minute when he split the ball between two defenders and laid it on the plate for Giannou. Although replays showed the latter was coming from an offside position, the Greek Australian footballer did well to back-heel the ball into the net. 

Jamshedpur equalized against the run of play in the 17th minute when Rafael Crivellaro won the ball in the opposition’s half. The Brazilian laid the ball for an onrushing Pandita but Gill came out of his line to parry the ball. However, it travelled only as far as Chukwu who lobbed the ball into the empty net to find his name on the scoresheet. 

Kerala continued piling pressure and was duly rewarded in the 30th minute when Boris Singh extended his arm inside the box in an attempt to block Jessel’s cross from the left flank. Diamantakos stood up to take the spot kick and waited for the goalkeeper to commit to his left before slotting the ball to the right. 

Jamshedpur got a chance to equalize once again in the 40th minute when Crivellaro released Pandita through on goal. However, his resultant shot was wide as the Blasters went into the break with a 2-1 lead.  

Jamshedpur nearly equalized in the first minute after the restart as Ricky found Pandita with a long ball. Despite being one-on-one with the goalkeeper, Pandita’s shot trickled wide. 

Jamshedpur’s missed chances in the second half would haunt them in the 65th minute when Luna scored Kerala’s third goal. Initiating the move with a one-two pass with Rahul, Luna carried the ball well forward. A triangle of passes between Diamantakos, Giannou, and Luna, in the end, saw the Uruguayan roll the ball into the net from a hand-shaking distance. 

In the 77th minute, Kerala nearly got another goal to their name when Nishu Kumar’s long-range shot fell into the path of Rahul KP on the rebound but his final shot was inches off the target. The tempo of the game considerably dropped in the final ten minutes as both sides failed to create any meaningful chances. 

With the win, Kerala Blasters climb to the third spot with 25 points from 12 games. They are only five points behind league leaders Mumbai City and take on the only unbeaten side at the Mumbai Football Arena on Sunday. 

Jamshedpur, meanwhile, is still languishing in the tenth spot in the 11-team league with a mere 5 points from 12 games. In search of their second win, they will host Chennaiyin on Saturday.