A fantastic individual goal by Sahal Abdul Samad and a brace by Alvaro Vazquez powered Kerala Blasters to a 3-1 win over an erratic Mumbai City FC in the Indian Super League (ISL) match at the Tilak Maidan Stadium here on Wednesday.
The Kerala Blasters returned to the top four of the points table after beating Mumbai City FC in the Indian Super League. The Blasters won 3–1 in a close fight. Sahal Abdul Samad (19) and Alvaro Vasquez (47, 60) scored for the Blasters.
Substitute Diego Mauricio scored the consolation goal for Mumbai. With the win, the Blasters finished fourth with 33 points from 19 games. The Blasters can secure a play-off berth if they beat Goa in the next match. The Blasters’ game from the start saw only victory ahead. Young Indian midfielder Jackson Singh and Bosnian defender Enas Sipovic were also absent from the playing XI. The absence of both, however, did not affect the performance of the Yellow Jackets.
The attacking Blasters fired 15 shots into the face of the Mumbai goal. Mumbai took the lead in terms of ball possession and number of passes but were unable to hold on to the winning Blasters, who scored in the first half. Mumbai, who lost their sixth match, are fifth with 31 points.
The Kochi team kept the Mumbai defence busy. Sahal jinked his way past a couple of Mumbai defenders to score a beautiful goal from the top of the box in the 19th minute. Mumbai’s top-scorer Igor Angulo was not at his best and he was repeatedly caught in the off-side trap by the Blasters defence. Angulo also flunked a good chance to equalise in the 41st minute when he was put in position by an excellent cross from Lallianzuala Chhangte from the right flank. However, Angulo shot straight at goalkeeper Gill. A counter-attack by Blasters saw Alvaro Vazquez enter the Mumbai penalty box but Mumbai skipper Moutada Fall tripped him to concede a penalty. Vazquez sent goalkeeper Nawaz the wrong way to put Blasters ahead in the 47th minute. Blasters’ sustained pressure saw the Mumbai defence crack. A howler by Mumbai goalkeeper Nawaz gifted the second goal to Vazquez.. The goalkeeper miss-kicked a back pass from Moutada Fall and it came straight to Vazquez who scored to put Blasters in command in the 60th minute. Though substitute Diego Mauricio converted a penalty in the 71st minute to pull one back for Mumbai, Blasters managed to hold on to its lead.
Preview: Kerala Blasters FC and Mumbai City FC will face off in a virtual shootout for a place in the semifinals, in a rescheduled Indian Super League fixture at the Tilak Maidan Stadium here on Wednesday. Kerala are placed fifth in the points table with 30 points from 18 matches, one point less than Mumbai who are fourth having 31 points from 18 games. With league leaders Hyderabad FC already through to the semis and Jamshedpur FC and ATK Mohun Bagan needing just one point to confirm their place as well, it is Kerala and Mumbai who are likely to fight it out for the last spot. Mumbai City FC’s top scorer Igor Angulo has scored more goals than all but one team’s top scorers. Hyderabad FC’s Bartholomew Ogbeche has scored more. Mumbai City FC players have the highest assists in the league (23). Mumbai City and Kerala Blasters have the joint second highest red cards received this season (2).
The result: Kerala Blasters 3 (Sahal Abdul Samad 19, Alvaro Vazquez 45+2′, 60) beat Mumbai City FC 1 (Diego Mauricio 71).