Kerala Blasters found itself in unfamiliar territory on Sunday night -- at the top of the ISL table.
A 1-0 win against Hyderabad FC at Vasco's Tilak Maidan Stadium took them there. The winner was netted by Alvaro Vazquez late in the opening half. And it was a stunning goal, too.
AS IT HAPPENED |
Blasters now has 17 points, the same as defending champion Mumbai City. An inferior goal difference means Mumbai will drop to the second place. Hyderabad, which remains on 16 points, has dropped down to the third place. The defeat was the side’s first in nine matches.
Blasters has extended its unbeaten run to nine matches. That is quite a feat for a team that finished second from bottom last season.
This season Blasters has defended much better and its rivals have struggled to score, after its 2-4 defeat ATK Mohun Bagan in the opening match of the league
That was a couple of months ago.
The way Ivan Vukomanovic’s boys have performed since, that match seems to have taken place in a more distant past.
On this night, Hyderabad had nearly taken an early lead, but Edu Garcia’s well-taken free-kick, in the ninth minute, was pushed away by the Blasters custodian Prabhsukhan Gill.
Some 15 minutes later, an even better save came at the other end, as Laxmikant Katti denied Jorge Pereyra Diaz. His header from close in, off a superb cross from Adrian Luna, could not beat the Hyderabad goalkeeper.
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There wasn’t much any goalkeeper could have done against Vazquez’s brilliant volley though. The long throw-in into the box, by Harmanjot Khabra was first headed by Samad Sahal before it reached the Spaniard.
That goal wasn’t the only blow for Hyderabad, though. Its biggest star and the league’s leading scorer Bartholomew Ogbeche collected his fourth yellow card and will miss the next game.
The Result: Kerala Blasters 1 (Alvaro Vazquez 42) bt Hyderabad 0.
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