After a continuous winless run of six games, Blasters tasted victory in their seventh game of the season against Hyderabad FC. In the fierce fight between two strong Indian contingents, Blasters came on top after the action-packed 90 minutes.
Kerala Blasters, one of the most followed football clubs in Asia were yet to taste their first victory in the 7th edition of Hero Indian Super League after completing six games. Today’s win was very important for the players and the coach as questions were raised from corners regarding the recruitment policy of Blasters management and the inability of Kibu Vicuna, the head coach of Kerala Blasters in finding out a perfect starting line up out of the squad.
Blasters started with five changes from their match against East Bengal FC as the Malayalee boys Sahal Abdul Samad and Abdul Hakku had their first start of the season along with Sandeep Singh, Jeakson Singh and the Australian Jordan Murray. The foreign centre back pair of Bakary Kone and Costa Nhamoinesu were dropped along with the English striker Gary Hooper and the Indians Seityasen Singh and Rohith Kumar to give way for some fresh legs.
Kerala started with not so lousy momentum and Kibu’s bold move was rewarded well when the local boy Abdul Hakku netted their first goal of the game in the 29th minute from Facundo Pereyra’s well-directed corner. The Argentine’s corner kick found the unmarked Kerala lad inside the box who brought joy to the Blaster’s camp with a stunning bullet header. On the other side, Hyderabad FC’s attempts to level the score went in vain as their strikers couldn’t find the back of the net with a disciplined Blasters defence at the back and vigilant Albino Gomez on the goal.
It was 1-0 in favour of Blasters at half time and they started the second half with more intensity expecting high pressing from Hyderabad, and this move turned well as Hyderabad was forced back to their defensive duties with Murray and Rahul testing the opponent goalkeeper in regular intervals. The 34-year-old Hyderabad Goalkeeper Subrata Paul was kept on his toes all along the second half by Rahul and Murray. Hyderabad’s poor finishing and final third progression cost them the game as Jordan Murray netted the final nail on their coffin at the 88th minute to win the game for the Blasters 2-0. Sahal, Jeakson and Facundo were booked by the referee in their battle for the ball as the Blasters played and won as a team. This win should serve as a launchpad for the Blasters for the coming games. No one deserved this win more than the Blaster’s coach Kibu Vicuna who brushed aside his personal loss, stuck with the team and made personnel and philosophical changes to win with a clean sheet.