Durand Cup 2022: Kerala Blasters register first win, beat NorthEast United 3-0
Guwahati: Kerala Blasters FC secured their first victory of their Durand Cup 2022 campaign as they eased past NorthEast United FC in a comfortable 3-0 victory in their Group D match at the Indira Gandhi Athletic Stadium, here on Saturday.
A brace from Mohammed Aimen (28′, 90′) and a goal from Muhammed Ajsal (55′) outnumbered NorthEast United FC to hand full points to the Blasters.
NorthEast United FC hit the ground running by being quick on the ball right from kick-off with a handful number of chances being created in the opening minutes of the game, but the Blasters’ shot-stopper Sachin Suresh calmly took charge of the situation.
The Highlanders imposed themselves on the Blasters’, putting them on the back foot as the former kept looking for spaces to create more attacking chances. Tomasz Tchorz’s men found their first big chance of the game in the 21st minute after Roshan’s attempt from a free kick found Marwan on the right, as the latter’s glancing header narrowly sailed over the bar.
A quick counter-attack from the Blasters opened the way for the first goal of the game as Muhammad Ajsal’s blocked shot fell through to Muhammed Aimen, who with an exquisite first touch slot it home to make it 1-0 for his side.
Subam Rabha’s men were kept busy by the Tuskers who constantly were creating chances after Roshan went on a running spree, easily getting past three defenders but his shot went wide off the post.
The Blasters maintained their attacking consistency in the second half and were rewarded with a second goal after Ajsal found himself in an open position to receive Azhar’s ball, and smashed it past the keeper to hand his side a two-goal cushion in the 55th minute.
In the 65th minute, the Blasters almost scored the third goal of the night as a lightning counterattack by Tomasz Tchorz’s men ended up with a quality block by a Highlanders’ defender after their blunder in the opposite half.
Minutes later, the Highlanders were slenderly close to scoring an equaliser but a last-ditch tackle by Tejas scrapped any chance of losing their lead. Right before the stroke of full-time, Aimen netted his second of the night and the third for his side as he went round the keeper and latched it past the net after receiving a long ball from Azhar.
The Tuskers’ take the field again on Wednesday as they face Army Green FT while the Highlanders will lock horns with Sudeva Delhi FC two days later.