A fantastic individual goal by Sahal Abdul Samad and a brace by Alvaro Vazquez powered Kerala Blasters to a 3-1 win over an erratic Mumbai City FC in the Indian Super League (ISL) match at the Tilak Maidan Stadium here on Wednesday.
The win took Kerala Blasters to the fourth place in the league with 33 points and kept its semifinal hopes alive while Mumbai dropped to fifth with 31 points.
KBFC moved the ball up with long passes and trio of Adrian Luna, Jorge Pereyra Diaz and Alvaro Vazquez kept the Mumbai defence busy.
Sahal jinked his way past a couple of Mumbai defenders to score a beautiful goal from the top of the box in the 19 minute to assert Kochi side’s early dominance.
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Mumbai’s top-scorer Igor Angulo was not at his best and he was repeatedly caught in the off-side trap by the Kerala Blasters defence.
Angulo also flunked a good chance to equalise in the 41 minute when he was put in position by an excellent cross from Lallianzuala Chhangte from the right flank. However, Angulo shot straight at goalkeeper Gill.
A counter-attack by Kerala Blasters saw Alvaro Vazquez enter the Mumbai penalty box but Mumbai skipper Moutada Fall tripped him to concede a penalty. Vazquez send goalkeeper Nawaz the wrong way to put Kerala Blasters ahead in the 47 minute.
Kerala Blasters didn’t drop the intensity in the second half and kept up the pressure from both the flanks. The sustained pressure saw the Mumbai defence crack.
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A howler by Mumbai goalkeeper Mohamad Nawaz gifted the second goal to Vazquez. The goalkeeper miss-kicked a back pass from Moutada Fall and it came straight to Vazquez who scored to put Blasters in command in the 60th minute.
Though substitute Diego Mauricio converted a penalty in the 71 minute to pull one back for Mumbai, Kerala Blasters managed to hold on to its lead.