Kochi: Iain Hume's 23rd minute goal proved the decisive winner as Kerala Blasters beat Pune City FC by a solitary goal and book a semifinal spot in the Hero Indian Super League football tournament yesterday.
Iain Hume (left) celebrates a goal with teammates yesterday. Pic/PTI
By virtue of the win, the Sachin Tendulkar co-owned side collected 19 points after their last league engagements, to be at third spot behind Chennaiyin FC (23 points) and Goa FC (21 points with one match at hand). The last spot for the semifinals will be decided by Atletico de Kolkata's home match against Goa FC tonight.
If ATK -- on 18 points -- draw or win their final league match tomorrow, they will qualify for the semifinals ahead of Delhi Dynamos (18 points after the end of league engagements). But, if ATK lose tomorrow by two-goal margin, Delhi will be through to the semifinals as goal-difference with decide who progresses between two teams on same points in the league stage. ATK now has plus three goal difference as against plus two of Delhi.
Kerala's victory over Pune also virtually rendered tonight's last league match in Guwahati between NorthEast United and Mumbai City FC an inconsequential tie. Mumbai, on 15 points, will need to win with more than 10-goal margin over NorthEast to have any chance of making to the semifinals.
NorthEast have no chance of making it to the semifinals as even a win tomorrow against Mumbai will give them only 17 points in total.