Chennaiyin FC’s opening goal, soon after the start, caught everybody napping but there were no further surprises as Kerala Blasters recovered to score a 2-1 win in the Indian Super League at the Nehru Stadium here on Tuesday.
The victory helped the Blasters strengthen their third spot in the league ladder with 31 points while Chennaiyin stayed in the eighth rung with 18.
Soon after midfielder Abdenasser El Khayati — the visitor’s top goalscorer this season — gave an unexpected lead, picking up a Peter Sliskovic pass and scoring in the second minute before any of the home boys could settle in their positions, Blasters got a grip on the game. They created plenty of chances but their Greek forward Diamantakos could not utilise them well.
Blasters dominated the match, advancing frequently through the left and one such move which involved defender Jessel Carneiro, Sahal Samad and Adrian Luna saw the last-named find the top right corner of the net with a stunning shot.
Just before half-time, Chennaiyin’s Vincy Barretto’s shot was pushed over smartly by the Blasters goalkeeper Prabhsukhan Gill who was in fine nick while Nishu Kumar kept the Chennaiyin forward Petar Sliskovic on a tight leash.
Blasters took the lead shortly after the hour-mark following a throw-in from the right after which Luna, the star of the show, sent a cross to K.P. Rahul who guided it home from the left.
Though Chennaiyin made some desperate attempts towards the end, it had to return disappointed. The visitor’s chances of entering the six-team playoffs is now almost over.
The result: Kerala Blasters 2 (Adrian Luna 38, K.P. Rahul 64) bt Chennaiyin FC 1 (Abdenasser El Khayati 2).