Debut in Fashion.
Kerala Blasters kicked off their first-ever Durand Cup campaign on a winning note. Vukomanovic’s men defeated the Indian Navy in a 1-0 scoreline, courtesy of Adrian Luna’s spot-kick.
Ivan fielded his side in a 4-4-2 formation. Our foreign contingents Enes Sipovic and Adrian Luna made their debut in yellow alongside Harmanjot Khabra. Blasters started to raid the Navy’s final third from the kick-off itself. We were building up through the flanks and entered their penalty area often but failed to convert those chances into goals. Navy strengthened their defense and it wasn’t easy to surpass them. An early change was made by Ivan as Abdul Hakku got injured within the first 15 minutes and was replaced with Ruivah Hormipam. Albino had nothing much to do, except for a long-ranger from Sreyas which was kept out by him and the first half ended in a goalless draw.
The second half started with no substitutions from both sides. It was the Blasters who made attacks in the first few minutes of the second half, but the Navy was getting back into the game. They attacked mainly through their right flank, where Nihal Sudeesh has been excellent with his foot works. Later Ivan made two changes, Ayush Adhikari came in for Jeakson Singh and Sreekuttan for Rahul KP. It was the combined move of Ayush, Prasanth, and Sreekuttan which made the Navy’s defense panic-struck and commit the mistake by giving away a penalty kick. Luna made no mistake from the spot and his strike to the top corner of the net assured us a goal lead at the 71st minute. After taking the lead, Luna was replaced with Puitea and Prasanth with Vincy Baretto. With a goal down Navy sharpened their attacks and were very close to scoring twice, but couldn’t find the nets. Match ended after 3 minutes of additional time to the second half and we grabbed all 3 points in a promising way.
In the next match of the Durand Cup, Kerala Blasters will play against familiar foes Bengaluru FC on the 15th of September, 2021.
Check out the Durand Match Center to get the Fixtures, Standings and Team List