Kerala Blasters rode their luck to beat a tenacious Indian Navy 1-0 in their Durand Cup 2021 Group C match. On Saturday at the Vivekanand Yuba Bharati Krirangan in Kolkata, Adrian Luna converted a penalty in the second half.
Despite Indian Navy’s triumph over Delhi FC three days ago, Kerala Blasters started as overwhelming favorites with their full-strength lineup. They were fortunate to escape with all three points at the end of the game.
In the eighth minute, Indian Navy winger Britto PM had the game’s opening chance. He took advantage of Sandeep Singh’s error, cutting in from the left and curling a shot just wide of the goal.
Four minutes later, Rahul KP fired the Kerala Blasters’ first shot on target, but it was deflected by Indian Navy goalkeeper Bhaskar Roy. Soon after, the youngster was given another chance, but his touch from Prasanth’s cross let him down.
Dalraj Singh, the prior game’s hero for the Indian Navy, came close to turning zero this time as his clumsy clearing fell to Jeakson Singh outside the box. Luna received a pass from Jackson and turned one defender before firing straight at Bhaskar.
Sreyas VG, on the other hand, pounced on a loose back-pass by Luna and stung Albino Gomes’ palms. Pradeesh received a free header from the resulting corner, but it went over the bar.
Seityasen Singh crossed from the left on to Luna’s head around the half-hour mark, but his effort hit the post.
Durand Cup 2021: Kerala Blasters make second half count
The Uruguayan Luna, who had been granted freedom of movement, was pulling all the strings. His shot cannoned into Rahul’s path ten minutes into the second half, and he just managed to handle the ball.
In the 63rd minute, the Indian Navy had a great chance to seize the lead by counter-attacking. Sreyas’ attempt was saved by Albino after Britto raced forward and squared it to him. Britto got the rebound and had an empty net to shoot at, but he somehow missed.
Five minutes later, substitute Sreekuttan was brought down by Dalraj as he went through on goal, and they paid the price. The following penalty was converted by Luna into the top corner, giving Kerala Blasters the lead.
The Indian Navy came closest to an equalizer through substitute Bibake Thapa as they pressed for a goal. Pradeesh surged forward from the left in the 79th minute, and his cross was met by Thapa, whose header hit the post.
Kerala Blasters will have learned a crucial lesson from this match, and they are aware that they must improve. Their next match is an all-ISL match against Bengaluru FC, with a win advancing them to the quarterfinals.