Dimitrios Diamantakos struck for the fourth time in as many games to give Kerala Blasters a narrow 1-0 win over Jamshedpur FC in an Indian Super League (ISL) game here on Sunday.
The Red Miners will feel they could have been better as the Blasters nabbed four wins on the trot for the first time in their history.
The win sees Kerala Blasters remain fifth on the table, but it is now three points clear of FC Goa and just one behind ATK Mohun Bagan.
The host made four changes to the side that lost to East Bengal FC. Eli Sabia replaced Pratik Chaudhary in defence. Farukh Choudhary, Ritwik Das, and 19-year-old Phijam Singh came into the midfield, replacing Sekh Sahil, Jitendra Singh, and Harry Sawyer.
The visitor fielded the same team that beat Hyderabad FC two weeks ago.
The game got off to a cagey start, but Blasters eventually took the lead in the 16th minute.
From a free kick, Adrian Luna lobbed the ball towards Diamantakos at the far post. Poor defending from Jamshedpur FC allowed the unmarked Greek striker to get on the end of it and carefully side-footed the ball home from close range.
Luna was menacing in midfield, but Jamshedpur FC was the one that came very close to levelling the game in the 37th minute.
Striker Jay Thomas, who was deployed as a holding midfielder in this game, slid the ball into the box to Das before the midfielder saw his goal-bound shot pushed away by Prabhsukhan Gill at full stretch.
In the second half, quite a few opportunities presented themselves but the Red Miners failed to keep them on target. Out of nine goal attempts, Das’ first-half shot was the only one Jamshedpur FC kept on target.
Substitute Ishan Pandita came on and scuffed his effort from range at the hour-mark before Daniel Chukwu’s header from Thomas’ out-swinging corner was inches above the crossbar, less than 10 minutes later.
In the 72nd minute, Pandita was taken out by a smart tackle from Sandeep Singh right on the edge of the box. The full-back was only shown a yellow card before Thomas stood over the free kick and fired it into the stands, summing up Jamshedpur’s evening.
Next up for the Blasters is a clash with Bengaluru FC in Kochi on Sunday.
Jamshedpur FC’s run of losses continues as it stays 10th on the table. The Red Miners will visit the Salt Lake Stadium next to face ATK Mohun Bagan FC on Thursday.
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