ISL 2022-23: 5th straight defeat for NorthEast United as Kerala Blasters get back on winning track
As the ISL 2022-23 continues, Kerala Blasters returns to its winning ways. It defeated NorthEast United 3-0 on Saturday, while the latter has now lost five contests in a row, piling pressure on it early in the competition.
Kerala Blasters (KBFC) got its season back on track in the 2022-23 Indian Super League (ISL) following a 3-0 conquest over NorthEast United (NEUFC) at the Indira Gandhi Athletic Stadium in Guwahati on Saturday. Dimitrios Diamantakos (56) and Sahal Samad (86 & 90+6) were the two goalscorers for KBFC. Ivan Vukomanović made five changes to the KBFC line-up, with three defensive shifts. NEUFC stuck to the 5-3-2 formation for the second straight match. The contest began slowly, with neither side inclined to risk anything, balancing each other out in midfield and stumbling to carve out chances in the final third.
Romain Philippoteaux hit the bar from close range after a small run from midfield in the eighth minute for NEUFC, and Diamantakos uncovered some space in behind in the 40th for KBFC, but his shot was wide. The two goalkeepers weren’t invited to make any saves either, as the opening half ended goallessly.
The coaches made no modifications leading into the second half, but the two sides displayed more openness by taking a few shots early. The strategy paid off for KBFC in the 56th. Rahul KP played through Saurav Mandal, and Mandal’s attempt was met by Diamantakos, who applied the finishing touch to an excellent team activity.
NEUFC came highly close to equalising twice in a couple of minutes. The maiden chance fell to Imran Khan, who got on the end of a radiant cross but could not get the proper connection. Emil Benny got on the back of an even finer chance a minute later after being played through by Matt Derbyshire. Despite rounding off the keeper, Benny’s touch was too grave, ultimately not even resulting in a shot.
NEUFC was penalised a couple of minutes later by Sahal Samad, who finished off a quick counterattack, giving KBFC a 2-0 charge. The substitute added another six minutes into second-half stoppage time, giving his side a 3-0 win. NEUFC’s problems in front of goal and defence persist. It remains at rock bottom and will face ATK Mohun Bagan (ATKMB) at the Vivekananda Yuba Bharati Krirangan in Kolkata next week, searching for its opening season win. KBFC has moved to the seventh spot in the table with six points in five matches and will host FC Goa (FCG) at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in Kochi.