Post Match Ceremony
Full Time! Kerala Blasters 3-1 East Bengal
89’ GOAL! WHAT A GOAL FROM IVAN; KBFC 3-1 EBFC
East Bengal scores from a set-piece as Alex gets the ball following a failed headed clearance from the corner kick and shoots it into the net to pull one bacl.
Kerala is raining attacks on East Bengal now. Shortly after the second goal, Kamaljit denied a clear goal and now Rahul’s soht is saved by the stopper to keep the score 2-0.
Ivan gets the ball in the midfield, makes a solo run into the penalty box and beats Kamaljit to make it 2-0 for the host in Kochi.
Triple change for East Bengal!
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72’ GOAL! Luna puts Kerala Blasters ahead; KBFC 1-0 EBFC
Alex gets the ball in the penalty box, passes to Shouvik on his right and the midfielder shoots over the goal to see the ball fly over the net.
More than an hour completed in the match and still the score remains 0-0 after a brilliant goalkeeping performance by Kamaljit Singh.
62’ Second yellow card for East Bengal!
61’ Substitution! In: Semboi Haokip, Out: Suhair VP
60’ Yellow card! Chungnunga gets the first yellow card of ISL 2022-23
Kerala Blasters attacks on the counter and Puitea carries the ball into the final third with a great run and passes to his left to Giannou, who tries a right-footed curler, which flies over the net.
Giannou gets the ball along the right flank, crosses for Luna, who had sprinted into the box and the Uruguayan shoots on target and yet again, Kamaljit makes a good save. That is four saves in five minutes.
50’ Super keeper Kamaljit!
Double save! Kerala Blasters’ corner kick pushed away by Kamaljit and another cross in the follow-up by Puitea is again punched away by Kamalit.
Chance! Suhair gets the ball along the left flank and beats his marker to try and cross to his left. However, he mis-hits the ball as it goes out for a goal kick.
Second Half begins!
Half-Time! Kerala Blasters 0-0 East Bengal
Suhair tries to steal the ball off Luna and gifts KBFC a free kick close to the box. Luna shoots and Kamaljit pounces to make a save and manages to keep the ball out of the net.
Luna delivers a long ball for Giannou, but Kamaljit intercepts and puts the attack to bed. Giannuo and Dimitrios are expected to fill up the space left by Diaz and Vazquez. So far, the combination has looked far from the one the pair had under Vukomanovic.
East Bengal gets the ball in the box, but Suhair goes down too softly following contact by Leskovic and the referee is not at all interested to give away a penalty and KBFC goes on an attack on the other side.
More than half an hour over in the match and neither of the sides have been able to break the deadlock in Kochi. East Bengal has had the only shot on target so far.
Scuffle in the middle of the match!
Chance! Sahal carries the ball off a pass from Jessel in the final third, cuts in to his right and passes to Puitea who shoots. But the ball whiffs off target as the score remains 0-0.
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Corner kick! Alex takes the corner kick which is caught comfortably by Gill, who gets to the ball before Ivan, who was satnding behind him, could.
Kerala Blasters starts the attack along the right flank now with Saal crossing in from the right, but East Bengal makes a crucial interception to deny Giannou, who was closing in, a chance
East Bengal, having started in a 4-3-3 shape, has changed to a 4-4-2 formation with Suhair and Cleiton leading the attack. Ivan Vukomanovic, who had maintained a similar shape, has returned to a 4-4-2 shape -- something his side had throughout last season.
Miss! Kerala Blasters attacks on the counter with Dimitrios at the centre of it, passes it to Jessel and he delivers a perfect cross for Giannou and the final touch is off target. What a miss that.
Save! Lima steals the ball off Kerala Blasters after a mistake by Puitea and beats Leskovic to shoot on target. Gill makes the first save of the match as the ball was looking to almost certainly get into the net.
Just off target! Luna takes the corner kick and Leskovic heads it just wide. No one had marked the KBFC defender, but his header was just off-target.
Kerala tries to attack on the counter. Puitea gets the ball across the midfield to his left for Jessel and Jessel crosses for Giannou. However, the cross was too high and the ball goes out for a goal kick.
Chance! Lima intercepts the ball in the midfield, makes a forward run and passes to Suhair on his right. The former NEUFC keeper delays his shot and when it comes, it goes out for a corner. Lima takes it, but it is cleared by KBFC.
Both the teams are staying very cautious at the moment, keeping its defenders clung to the pnalty box and KBFC tries to ppress early, only to see Ankit get the ball back to Kamaljit.
7:35 pm: Kick-Off!
7:25 pm: The stage is set as the players line-up!
7:15 pm: What are the managers saying?
Ivan Vukomanovic, Kerala Blasters head coach: “There will no easy opponents, there will be no easy points for us this season, and we will have to prove that again on the pitch.”
7:00 pm: A chance for both sides to start afresh!
Kerala Blasters missed out on the ISL Championship for the third time, after losing to Hyderabad FC in the final, while East Bengal finished at the bottom of the table last season, with just one win in 20 games. This season, both teams will look to shrug off past results as they lock horns in Kochi tonight.
6:45 pm: The players are out in the field and are warming up in front of a packed Jawaharlal Nehru International Stadium. Both the teams have decided to go with a 4-3-3 formation.
6:30 pm: Starting lineups out!
6:15 pm: Kerala is ready to welcome its home team with fans queueing up, outside the stadium.
6:00 pm: Kerala Blasters vs East Bengal Predicted XI
The ninth season of the Indian Super League (ISL) will kick off when Kerala Blasters takes on East Bengal at the Jawaharlal Nehru International Stadium in Kochi, on Friday.
After two years of matches being played at centralised locations and behind closed doors, the league is back to the home-and away format with the runner-up of the last season starting its pursuit for the title on matchday 1.
The contest tonight will be between a side that has been built by KBFC head coach Ivan Vukomanovic throughout the previous season against a side that former Indian national team head coach Stephen Constantine has got together before the Durand Cup.
Kerala will rue the absence of the two heads of its attack last season – Alvaro Vazquez and Jorge Pereyra Diaz – who had scored 16 of KBFC’s 37 goals and joined FC Goa and Mumbai City this season respectively.
However, the team has signed Apostolos Giannou and Dimitrios Diamantakos as replacements and will have Adrian Luna – its midfield talisman last season – pulling strings in attack this season as well.
“For us, there is no pressure, there is always a pleasure because the players and us are doing something that we love, Vukomanovic, the head coach of Kerala Blasters, said before the match.
“So, when you have this kind of atmosphere and situation, you have a positive mindset and nice things tend to happen. We believe in our objectives, we believe in our ideas, and we will see where it takes us.”
East Bengal, on the other hand, has made optimistic strides after another disastrous ISL campaign last time, where it finished last in the table with just one win.
Bino George, the Kerala coach who won the Santosh Trophy this year, has paired with Constantine in the dugout, while former FC Goa centre-back Ivan Gonzalez is expected to be the defensive pillar for the Red-and-Gold brigade.
The team has assigned former Aniket Jadhav – an ISL Champion – from Hyderabad FC, Cleiton Silva from Bengaluru FC and Sumit Passi from RoundGass Punjab – all of whom have looked promising in the Durand Cup.
“I understand how Indian players think, and how they feel and that for sure is an advantage. But the past is the past and I can't change what happened last season or the season before. I can change what's going to happen next,” Constantine said before the match.
“We have worked very hard in the short time that we have been together. I had 12 players when I arrived here but now we have a squad of 26-27 players and they have worked very hard for me so far.”
In the Indian Super League, KBFC and EBFC have met four times in the past and only once has a decisive result come through, when Kerala Blasters beat East Bengal on February 14, 2022. The remaining three matches have all been draws.
- Kerala Blasters 1-0 East Bengal FC – February 14, 2022
- Kerala Blasters 1-1 East Bengal FC – December 12, 2021
- Kerala Blasters 1-1 East Bengal FC – January 15, 2021
- Kerala Blasters 1-1 East Bengal FC – December 20, 2020
Kerala Blasters’ senior team will play ISL as its first competitive tournament this season. In the Durand Cup, where it fielded its reserve side, KBFC finished as the only junior side (among ISL teams) to play the quarterfinals.
East Bengal FC, on the other other hand, ended its Durand Cup campaign on a high, beating runner-up Mumbai City FC 4-3 in its final group stage match.
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