ISL: Vineeth’s goal sinks NEUFC

A 24th minute goal from C. K. Vineeth sealed the tie as Kerala Blasters registered its first win of the Indian Super League season against NorthEast United FC.

Kerala Blasters' C. K. Vineeth celebrates after scoring against NorthEast United FC on Friday.   -  H. Vibhu

NorthEast United FC (NEUFC) failed to break the Kochi Jinx as Kerala Blasters celebrated its first win in the Indian Super League with a solitary goal win at the Jawaharlal Nehru stadium on Friday.

C. K. Vineeth once again turned out to be hero for the Blasters as his flying header in the 24th minute turned out to the match-winner. However, the big moment in the match came in the 42nd minute when NEUFC was reduced to 10-men when goalkeeper Rehenesh TP was shown the red card by the referee Rowan Arumughan for bringing down Sifneos just outside the box.

MATCH CENTRE

NEUFC never recovered from that blow and Blasters showed its one man advantage by dominating the show in the second half. The Blasters created chances in a hurry but was largely wasteful in the second half.

The first goal for the Blasters came against the run of play and in the 24th minute. Captain Sandesh Jinghan send a long ball to the overlapping Rino Anto who broke into the box and arrowed in a cross. The opportunistic Vineeth rushed in and connected the ball with a flying header to send the crowd into raptures.

Jackichand Singh was unfortunate in the 57th minute when his right-footed effort ricochetted off the near post. Though NEUFC tried to regroup, the Blasters defence held firm in the later part of the second half. The closest NEUFC came to scoring was in the 87th minute when a corner kick was flicked on by Cezario towards the goal but none of the NEUFC players was in position to slot the ball in.

First half trouble for Blasters

After the mauling suffered at the hands of FC Goa, Blasters coach Rene Meulensteen made three changes in the squad. Wes Brown, one of the high profile signings that Kerala Blasters made this season, made his first appearance in the tournament. Vineeth came back from suspension and Siam Hanghal replaced Loken Meitei in the midfield.

But the changes didn’t seem to work in the first half for the Kerala side. The side gave away the ball too easily in the midfield and there were few creative moves from the Kochi side. Pekuson was the only player who tried hard but found little support from his team-mates.

On the other hand NEUFC found its moorings pretty early and had the first look in the fourth minute through Marcinho whose shot was parried away for a corner by goalkeeper Rachbuka.

The North East side enjoyed more possession in the midfield and moved the ball predominantly through the left flank to have the Blasters’ defence under pressure and NEUFC even won a spate of corners but couldn’t cash on to those opportunities.

 

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