Kerala Blasters FC clinched a thrilling 2-1 victory over Odisha FC in a pulsating ISL encounter at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in Kochi. The goal came from Diego Mauricio of Odisha in the 14th minute, Diamantakos of Kerala Blasters in the 65th minute, and Adrian Luna in the 83rd minute. The closely contested match also witnessed a dramatic penalty save by KBFC’s Sachin Suresh in the 21st minute, which kept the Blasters in the game after Isak Ralte was brought down in the box.
The game began with great intensity, and it didn’t take long for the action to unfold. In the 11th minute, the first significant chance of the game fell to Rahul KP of Kerala Blasters. Naocha delivered a precise cross, setting up a golden opportunity for Rahul KP, but his first-touch finish in front of the goal was thwarted by Jerry’s last-ditch defending.
However, the momentum shifted in the 14th minute when Odisha FC found the back of the net. Diego Mauricio showcased his clinical finishing by slotting the ball home with a precise finish toward the near post. A well-timed through ball had completely opened up KBFC’s defense, leaving them stunned and trailing 1-0.
The 18th minute brought more drama as the referee awarded a penalty to Odisha FC. Isak Ralte displayed his flair with a dazzling run that beat four KBFC defenders, only to be fouled in the box. Jajouh stepped up to take the free-kick from 25 yards, but Sachin, the Kerala Blasters FC goalkeeper, made a spectacular save to keep the scoreline at 1-0. The drama didn’t end there, as Naocha was found to have used his hand to flick the ball in the box, leading to a penalty for Odisha FC.
Sachin Suresh, KBFC’s goalkeeper, emerged as the hero of the 21st minute by making a heroic double save. He initially denied Mauricio’s spot-kick, and when Isak Ralte attempted a follow-up shot, Sachin once again came to the rescue, ensuring that the score remained 1-0.
Kerala Blasters FC, despite falling behind, displayed their determination to equalize. In the 25th minute, Luna won the ball and threaded a pass to Daisuke, who narrowly missed the target, leaving the home side hungry for that crucial equalizing goal.
As the first half drew to a close, Odisha FC retained their 1-0 lead. The game had been closely contested, with Kerala Blasters FC knocking on the door repeatedly, searching for the equalizer. The home team needed to be more clinical in converting their chances, while Odisha FC aimed to control the tempo and maintain better ball possession.
The second half commenced with the same intensity, and opportunities continued to arise. In the 50th minute, Peprah intercepted the ball and passed it to Rahul KP. He set up Vibin on the edge of the box, but Vibin’s finish narrowly missed the top right corner.
The 54th minute saw Daisuke cut back and pass the ball to Danish, but Danish’s shot sailed over the goal, a missed opportunity that KBFC could ill afford in their quest for an equalizer.
The game-changing moment came in the 65th minute when the super-substitute, Diamantakos, provided the crucial equalizer for Kerala Blasters FC. His clean first-touch finish was executed with finesse, delicately chipping the ball over the Odisha FC goalkeeper and into the back of the net. The crowd erupted as the score was leveled at 1-1.
In the 83rd minute, Kerala Blasters FC’s captain, Adrian Luna, delivered a second goal that sent the stadium into jubilation. Luna spotted the Odisha FC goalkeeper off his line and perfectly dinked the ball into the net. The helpless keeper could only watch as the ball landed in the goal, giving Kerala Blasters FC a 2-1 lead.
Despite being behind, Odisha FC didn’t give up. In the 87th minute, KBFC attacked once again, but Odisha’s Fall cleared the ball away, conceding a corner in the process.
In the dying moments of the match, Luna embarked on an explosive run on the counter in the 93rd minute. He was brought down by Pranjal, who received a yellow card for his challenge.
The 95th minute saw Fall before an open goal, but his effort was ruled offside. Odisha FC remained behind, and the referee’s final whistle signaled the end of the game.
Full-time had arrived, and Kerala Blasters FC had secured all three points. The victory was thanks to a fantastic goal by their captain, Adrian Luna, who played a pivotal role in the comeback. Ivan Vukomanovic’s return to the touchline was triumphant, propelling Kerala Blasters FC to the joint-top of the ISL league table. In hindsight, Odisha FC’s inability to convert a penalty in the first half proved to be a costly mistake, as they lost to the spirited hosts.
This match was a roller-coaster of emotions, filled with missed chances, heroic saves, and ultimately, brilliant goals. Kerala Blasters face East Bengal away from home next in the ISL as they will look to go back on a winning streak. As for Odisha FC, they will need to regroup and find their winning form again under the experienced guidance of Sergio Lobera as they take on Bengaluru FC next in the ISL.
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