Kerala Blasters FC secured its third consecutive win as it beat Hyderabad FC 1-0 in an ISL match at the GMC Balayogi Athletics Stadium here on Saturday.
Hyderabad suffered its first loss of the season but stayed on top of the points table with 16 points from seven games as Kerala moved to the third spot with 12 points from seven games.
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Kerala not only broke Hyderabad’s winning streak but also punctured their airtight defence by taking an early lead in the 18th minute and held on to the advantage at half-time.
Hyderabad started off well and looked to be the more threatening side but failed to find the back of the net. Kerala on the other hand, had possession as Dimitrios Diamantakos scored the first goal of the match to put his side in the lead.
Adrian Luna got hold of the ball and chipped into the box as goalkeeper Anuj Kumar stepped out in an attempt to push the ball away. However, the ball went straight to Diamantakos who with a powerful strike found the back of the net.
Kerala almost doubled the lead in the next couple of minutes as Rahul Praveen made an excellent run down the centre of the pitch and took a shot at the goal with his left foot but hit it straight to the keeper.
It was a fascinating passage of play with fans from both sides cheering their respective teams, with their chants echoing throughout the stadium, but it was the Kerala fans who found their voice on Saturday night.
Hyderabad kept attacking but lacked the finishing touches as Bartholomew Ogbeche missed out on a chance to equalise as he hit a free kick header wide of the goal post.
The second half saw Hyderabad create a chance in the 58th minute as Ogbeche controlled a cross from the left but the Kerala defenders did well to block the shot and prevented Hyderabad from taking a corner.
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Hyderabad ringed in substitutions as it got in Borja Herrera for Joel Chianese and Halicharan Narzary for Reagan Singh in an attempt to find the equaliser. As the game got closer, a desperate Manolo Marquez made another substitution by bringing in Javier Siverio in place of Ogbeche. However, Kerala kept attacking and kept breaking through the defence of Hyderabad, threatening to score another goal.
Joao Victor got a golden chance to equalise in the 90th minute as he chipped the ball into the box but Aaren D’Silva failed to score. An additional extra time of five minutes was added but Kerala was in no mood to allow the home side to equalise and settle for a draw.