Kerala Blasters reach the final of ISL 2022 after holding Jamshedpur FC to a 1-1 draw.© Twitter
Kerala Blasters FC entered the ISL final for the first time since 2016 after a 1-1 draw with Jamshedpur FC on Tuesday and a joint 2-1 lead over the League Shield winners in the double semi-finals. Adrian Luna (18th) opened the score for Kerala with a stunning goal before Pronay Halder (50th) pulled one back for the Red Miners, who needed one more goal to take the game into extra time, but another solid performance from the Kerala’s backline made sure they held on tight to secure a place in the top crash.
In the first leg, Sahal Abdul Samad scored the only goal in a 1-0 win for Kerala, who reached the third ISL final. They were also the finalists of the first edition of 2014.
The Yellow Shirts started the second leg without the injured Sahal, but showed no sign of slowing down and almost took the lead within the first two minutes if Alvaro Vazquez hadn’t tried to be brutal as he went one-on-one with the keeper over the ball. TP Rehenesh rumbled into Jamshedpur’s goal and wide from the far post.
Four minutes later, Vazquez got possession deep in his own half to set up Ayush Adhikari, but Rehenesh was alert to the danger and came out of his line in time. Kerala found great joy as Jamshedpur’s full-backs pushed forward, leaving plenty of room for their rivals to exploit.
Adhikari had another chance with a cross from Jorge Diaz, but Jamshedpur skipper Peter Hartley put his body on the line to extinguish the danger.
Vazquez made up for his miss earlier in the half shortly afterwards, with a lovely pass from the left flank for Luna, who fired in, dropped a shoulder and curled a side effort past Rehenesh into the right corner.
At halftime Kerala led on aggregate 2-0. Five minutes after the restart, Halder grabbed one to get Jamshedpur back into play, poked into a Stewart corner initially caught by Chima whose header lacked power and fell to Halder who made it two yards out of the net. But that would not be enough for Jamshedpur.
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