The Tuskers secured a crucial victory to advance a few spots on the standings chart. In an(ISL) match on Saturday in Guwahati, Kerala Blasters defeated NorthEast United 3-0 to halt their three-game losing streak. After a scoreless first half, Dimitrios Diamantakos scored, and Sahal Abdul Samad added two more goals for the club in the second half, giving him 77 appearances overall, one more than former captain Sandesh Jhingan.
After three straight losses, Ivan Vukomanovic made up to five changes to his team, replacing Harmanjot Khabra, Victor Mongil, Jessel Carneiro, Puitea, and Samad with Nishu Kumar, Ruivah Hormipam, Sandeep Singh, Saurav Mandal, and Ivan Kaliuzhnyi. The Blasters’ ability to make smart changes, particularly those of Samad, together with some other players’ and Rahul KP’s brilliance, allowed them to move up to the seventh place with 6 points after 5 games.
The Performing Side:
Rahul KP: The Indian winger, who contributed to his team’s first two goals, made a complete mess of himself in the final third. He displayed foresight by leaving Mandal’s low cross for Diamantakos to guide goalward after initially sending it wide for Mandal, and he assisted Samad.
Sahal Samad: The 25-year-old scored his first goal shortly after coming off the bench by using the perfect touch, taking advantage of the cross’s speed, and beating the helpless Mirshad Muchu. In addition to enhancing the originality through the center, Samad continued by adding another with a clean finish at the end.
The Losing Side: Nishu Kumar, the former Bengaluru player Nishu Kumar dropped the ball to Jithin, which allowed for a counterattack. Fortunately, Hormipam rescued the day with a last-ditch tackle in the box. Nishu experienced some intimidation in the middle as he took a risk to get into trouble and made a booking while diving for help. He also failed to notice the ball’s trajectory as Imran Khan came dangerously close to completing a good cross.
The Defensive Side: Except for Hormipam’s critical block to avoid an early setback, Marko Leskovic did a fantastic job in the back in the defense. The goal did finally relieve the Blasters’ defense of some of the burden because NorthEast United also didn’t take many risks moving forward. Sandeep Singh, meanwhile, helped Sahal score his second goal late in the game by providing an assist.
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