Kerala Blasters regained its winning touch at home with a 2-0 win over a disappointing NorthEast United in the Indian Super League match at the Jawaharlal Nehru stadium here on Sunday.
After a frustrating period of missed chances in the first half, Kerala Blasters’ Greek striker Dimitrios Diamantakos struck twice within two minutes to snuff out the challenge from NorthEast United.
Diamantakos, who had missed a few gilt edged chances himself, finally found the net when he headed in a cross from Bryce Miranda in the 42nd minute.
Two minutes later a succulent pass from Adrian Luna sent Dimantakos clear and the striker had enough time to beat goalkeeper Gurjinder Kumar with a left footed shot.
Kerala Blasters coach Ivan Vukomanovic made six changes in the team that played against FC Goa and it seemed to work when the Kochi side dominated possession and created chances early. Miranda sparked moves from the left flank but Blasters strikers were profligate.
The first attempt from the Blasters came in the opening minute when Miranda threaded a cross for Diamantakos whose shot was saved by NorthEast goalkeeper Gurjinder.
NorthEast defence failed to rein in Miranda who roamed freely on the left and in the 14th minute Apostolos Giannou shot out after being put in position by the midfielder.
There was no respite for the NorthEast defence as in the 17th minute, the hard working K. P. Rahul bored his way into the box from the right and crossed but the ball missed the extended legs of Adrian Luna and Diamantakos.
In the 29th minute Luna missed the easiest of the chances when he shot out from close to waste another good ball from Miranda.
The NorthEast side was poor and managed only one shot at the rival goal. The second half resembled an extended training session and another feel-good game for Vukomanovic’s team who now moves into the third position with 28 points.