Kerala Blasters pulled off a stunning 3-1 victory over FC Goa in the Indian Super League (ISL 2022-23) at the Nehru Stadium here on Sunday, a victory that helped it climb from seventh to fifth in the table.
Goa, fourth in the table, was expected to be a tough opponent but it was the Blasters who called the shots and produced three goals that left its opponent breathless, two of which came towards the end of the first half.
Sahal Samad and Adrian Luna combined well and forced the Goa defence to sweat. Sahal proved to be a tricky customer, dodging past defenders often and breaking into the box with sudden bursts of speed.
One such move saw him dance around a defender and send a neat pass from the left to Luna, who just had to tap it in from point-blank range for the opening goal.
The Blasters added one more a couple of minutes later when forward Dimitrios Diamantakos was brought down by Goa’s Anwar Ali inside the box. The Greek maintained his composure and converted the penalty.
The Blasters kept their momentum at the start of the second-half.
In the 51st minute, Kerala bagged its third goal courtesy of a stunner by Ivan Kaliuzhnyi. After receiving a pass from Diamantokos, the Ukrainian sent in a fiery 30-yard left-footed shot that gave FC Goa goalkeeper Dheeraj Moirangthem no chance.
The Blasters’ defence, often shaky this season, put in an improved performance, dismantling the Goa attacks a few times. Goa midfielder Noah Sadaoui tried to break in from the left towards the hour mark, but he faced a Sandeep Singh wall.
However, he scored Goa’s consolation goal with a header in the 67th minute. Seriton Fernandes found Noah with a pinpoint cross from the right flank and the latter did well to find the net with a headed finish.
Apart from Noah’s goal, the Gaurs’ finishing was disappointing in the final third.
The result: Kerala Blasters 3 (Adrian Luna 42, Diamantakos 45-p, Ivan Kaliuzhnyi 51) bt FC Goa 1 (Noah Sadaoui 67).