The ten-man Kerala Blasters FC moved up to second place in the points list on Friday with a tough performance against wooden spoons NorthEast United FC 2-1 in the Indian Super League in Vasco. Second half goals from Jorge Pereyra Díaz (62nd) and a stunner from Alvaro Vazquez (82nd) saw Kerala win again and further deepened NorthEast United’s woes. Mohamed Irshad scored a goal deep in stoppage time, but it didn’t matter in the end as Khalid Jamil’s side remained on 10 points from 16 games. Kerala now has 23 points from 13 outings.
The first chance of the game fell for NorthEast United when Suhair Vadakkepeedika had a golden opportunity to take the early lead but the striker failed to connect after doing all the hard work to get his marker off a cross from Joe Zoherliana to avoid.
Marcelinho made some teasing crosses for Suhair and also delivered a sharp corner for Pragyan Gogoi to send the ball over the bar. Hernan Santana and Marcelinho also got on well, but lacked finishing with the former blasting over a try after Santana burst through the right to square the ball for him.
Kerala got their first real chance three minutes before half-time when Adrian Luna brought in a perfect ball for Jeakson Singh, who headed over.
In the second half, Kerala started on the front foot as Vazquez saw the keeper outside his line and tried his luck from 40 yards away but missed the goal. Vazquez was released shortly afterwards, but he fired straight at the keeper as Kerala attacked with poison and soon got their reward.
Diaz went unmarked and the Argentinian made no mistake as Harmanjot Khabra headed the ball in his path and Subhashish Roy Choudhary nodded in.
Kerala suffered a setback when Ayush Adhikari was sent off after seeing a second yellow card in the 70th minute.
NorthEast United replaced Marco Sahanek with Deshorn Brown, who made a comeback to the team, but Kerala went 2-0 up, adding to the Highlanders’ plight. Vazquez scored a sensational goal by getting the ball close to the halfway line and seeing Roy Choudhury off his line, to make a curling attempt that settled into the net.
Irshad withdrew one from a Santana ball in stoppage time and fired with force from just outside the box, but his brilliant effort was in vain as NorthEast United succumbed to their second successive defeat.
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