ISL 2022-23: Sahal stars as Kerala Blasters beats NorthEast United 3-0

Dimitrios Diamantakos opened the scoring for Kerala Blasters, before Sahal Samad came off the bench to score twice to seal the game for Ivan Vukumanovic’s side.

Kerala Blasters FC forward Rahul celebrates after midfielder Sahal (18) scores the second goal against North East United FC in Guwahati.

Kerala Blasters FC forward Rahul celebrates after midfielder Sahal (18) scores the second goal against North East United FC in Guwahati. | Photo Credit: RITU RAJ KONWAR

Dimitrios Diamantakos opened the scoring for Kerala Blasters, before Sahal Samad came off the bench to score twice to seal the game for Ivan Vukumanovic’s side.

Kerala Blasters got its season back on track in the Indian Super League (ISL) after a 3-0 victory over NorthEast United FC at the Indira Gandhi Athletic Stadium in Guwahati. Dimitrios Diamantakos (‘56) and Sahal Samad (‘86, ‘90+6) were the two goalscorers for the Kerala Blasters.

Ivan Vukomanović made five changes to the Kerala Blasters line-up, with three changes in the defence.

The game started slowly with neither side willing to risk anything, cancelling each other out in midfield, and struggling to carve out chances in the final third.

Romain Philippoteaux hit the woodwork from range after a little run from midfield in the eighth minute for NorthEast United FC. The two goalkeepers weren’t asked to make any saves either as the first half ended 0-0.

The coaches did not make any changes heading into the second half, but the two teams showed more intent in the opening minutes of the second half. Kerala Blasters made the breakthrough in the 56th minute when Saurav Mandal was played through by Rahul KP, and Mandal’s shot was met by Diamantakos, who bundled it in to cap an excellent team move.

NorthEast United FC came extremely close to equalising twice in the space of two minutes. The first chance fell to Imran Khan, who got on the end of a brilliant cross, but could not get the right connection. Emil Benny got on the end of an even better chance a minute later after being played through by Matt Derbyshire. Despite rounding off the goalkeeper, Benny’s touch was too heavy, and ultimately not even resulting in a shot.

NorthEast United FC were punished two minutes later by Sahal Samad, who finished off a rapid counterattack to give Kerala Blasters a 2-0 lead. The substitute added another goal six minutes into second-half stoppage time to give his side a 3-0 victory.

NorthEast United FC’s problems in front of goal, and in defence continue. They remain in last place and will be facing ATK Mohun Bagan Vivekananda at the Yuba Bharati Krirangan in Kolkata next week in search of their first win of the season. Kerala Blasters FC have moved to 7th in the table with six points in five games and will be hosting FC Goa at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in Kochi.

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