ISL: Blasters nick victory over FC Goa

Kerala Blasters earned an impressive 2-1 come-from-behind win over FC Goa at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in Fatorda, here on Monday. Haitian forward Kervens Belfort capped a wonderful performance with the winner in the 84th minute to send the Blasters third in the table.

Winner... Haitian forward Kervens Belfort collectied the ball on the left from defender Josu Currais, dribbled past Raju Gaikwad to beat goalie Subhasish Roy at the near post.   -  v. Sreenivasa Murthy

Kerala Blasters earned an impressive 2-1 come-from-behind win over FC Goa at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in Fatorda, here on Monday. Haitian forward Kervens Belfort capped a wonderful performance with the winner in the 84th minute to send the Blasters third in the table.

The match seemed destined for a draw until Belfort, after collecting the ball on the left from defender Josu Currais, dribbled past Raju Gaikwad to beat goalie Subhasish Roy at the near post. The loss means that Goa remains rooted to the bottom with four points from six games.

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Earlier, manager Zico named an unchanged side from the one which beat Mumbai City FC away. For Blasters, Steve Coppell brought in forward Belfort in place of Duckens Nazon from the side which drew with FC Pune City – in hindsight an inspiring switch.

The visitor shaded the initial exchanges. Most attacks were launched from the left flank where Currais and Belfort did the bulk of the work. In the tenth minute the latter threatened to open the scoring, beating three men but shot straight at Subhasish.

On the eve of the match, Zico had said that Spanish midfielder Joffre was overburdened with the responsibility of being the lone creative spark in the absence of last season’s stand-out player Brazilian Leo Moura. The Blasters creditably managed to keep him relatively quiet in the first half.

But what Goa lacked through the middle, came from the flanks when Brazilian Richarlyson crossed from the left for countryman Julio Cesar to head in the opener in the 24th minute. For a side which had been quite wasteful in front of the goal in the previous matches, scoring from the lone chance of the half would have brought relief.

Zico, like he had done in the win over Mumbai, sought to reinforce his side defensively to protect the lead and brought on marquee player Lucio in place of Joffre for the second half. But it didn’t have the intended effect as the Blasters equalised straight from the kick off.

Mohammed Rafique was sent through on the right wing and he whipped in fine low cross for Mohammed Rafi to tap in at the far post. It seemed the just reward for the side which had shown more attacking verve.

Zico, attempting to chase the game, brought on wingers Mandar Dessai and Romeo Fernandes. But Goa was lucky not to fall behind immediately. First Michael Chopra fired straight at Subhasish from a one-on-one situation and then defender Gregory Arnolin’s attempted clearance stuck his own post. However, the Blasters were not to be denied the third time.

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