ISL 2023-24: East Bengal beats nine-man Kerala Blasters to keep playoff hopes alive

While Kerala Blasters already confirmed playoff qualification on Tuesday night after Odisha FC beat Punjab, East Bengal has kept itself in contention with this win.

Published : Apr 03, 2024 22:37 IST , KOCHI - 2 MINS READ

East Bengal’s Saul Crespo celebrates after scoring a goal.
East Bengal’s Saul Crespo celebrates after scoring a goal. | Photo Credit: Thulasi Kakkat/The Hindu

East Bengal’s Saul Crespo celebrates after scoring a goal. | Photo Credit: Thulasi Kakkat/The Hindu

East Bengal FC secured a 4-2 win against nine-man Kerala Blasters on a night when things went horribly wrong for the home side in the ISL at the Nehru Stadium here on Wednesday.

Shortly after taking the lead midway through the first half through a nice goal from Fedor Cernych, who beat the EBFC goalkeeper Prabhsukhan Singh and scored inside an empty net, the Blasters – who were playing their last match at home in the league phase - appeared to be in a nice flow. But things changed dramatically toward the end of the opening session.

AS IT HAPPENED: Kerala Blasters vs East Bengal highlights

First, Jeakson Singh was sent off with a second yellow and moments later, the Blasters conceded a penalty in added time, which Saul Crespo converted for the equaliser. Spaniard Saul added one more from the middle of the box in the 71st minute to give EBFC the lead, and a few minutes later, the Blasters were down to nine men, with defender Noacha Singh sent off with a red card for head-butting C.K. Aman.

Ten minutes later, Naorem Mahesh doubled the lead after his curling effort was guided inside the net by Daisuke Sakai.

Kerala pulled one back after East Bengal centre-back Hijazi Maher also scored an own goal.

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However, any hopes of a late equaliser were squashed as Mahesh grabbed a brace, rattling the roof of the net in the 87th minute, as East Bengal got its fourth.

With the playoff berth confirmed on Tuesday night, after Odisha FC beat Punjab, the Blasters replaced the ISL’s leading scorer Diamantakos and Fedor early in the second half. But the home side, which had beaten EBFC in their previous meeting in November, will be very unhappy with the way the match went tonight.

East Bengal, on the other hand, kept its playoff hopes alive with the win.

The result:
Kerala Blasters FC 2 (Fedor Cernych 24, Hijazi Maher 84-og) lost to East Bengal FC 4 (Saul Crespo 45+3-p & 71, Naorem Mahesh 83 & 87).
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