Pune: Overcoming a one-goal deficit, Kerala Blasters FC edged past FC Pune City 2-1 to register their first win in the Hero Indian Super League (ISL) at the Shree Shiv Chhatrapati Sports Complex Stadium, here today.
With the win, Kerala jumped up to the fifth spot in the standings with four points from as many matches, just above Pune who also have four points from four matches but are behind on goal difference.
Kerala Blasters FC players celebrate CS Sabeeth's equalising goal against FC Pune City at Pune's Shree Shiv Chhatrapati Sports Complex Stadium on Thursday. PICS/ISL/SPORTZPICS
FC Pune City's marquee player David Trezeguet put his team ahead early in the first half, only for Kerala to equalise just before the break through striker C.S. Sabeeth. Subsitute Penn Orji scored the winning goal for the away team.
French International David Trezeguet gave the hosts an early lead with his 15th minute strike to bring the home fans
to their feet.
Trezeguet took a volley from a spectacular ball delivered by John Goossens from the left wing to fire it into the goal.
After the opening goal, Pune took control of the proceedings, stitching together good passes. Kerala, on the backfoot and failing to create any meaningful attack, were forced to make a substitution in the 25th minute, injecting pace in the form of Ishfaq Ahmed in place of veteran Renedy Singh.
The change brought energy and purpose back in Kerala's game and they equalised in the 42nd minute through India U-23 forward Chinadorai Sabeeth.
It was a sweet combination of moves as Stephen Pearson's well-taken corner was directed at Cedric Hengbart, who headed it towards the goal and an alert Sabeeth quietly tucked the ball into the net.
This was Sabeeth's first goal in the league and the 23-year-old striker celebrated it in great style. Attacks and counter-attacks continued from either end of the goal but the score remained 1-1 at half-time.
The break did not prove too good for the home team as Pune goalkeeper Emanuele Belardi of Italy walked off the field in the 50th minute and Churchill's Arindam Bhattacharya took charge at the post.
But Sabeeth and Sandesh Jhingan continued to put some nice passes in the left flank to keep Pune defenders guessing.
Kerala think-tank then came up with a substitution as Penn Orji replaced Brazil's Guilherme Milhomem Gusmao in the
Orji soon made it count when the Kenyan international scored in the 65th minute.
Iain Hume's spectacular pass from the right wing was safely taken inside the box by Orji and he perfectly shot it at the bottom right corner to give Kerala the decisive lead.
FC Pune City’s marquee player David Trezeguet shoots to score the home side’s opening goal against Kerala Blasters on Thursday. PICS/ISL/SPORTZPICS
From then on Pune tried hard to comeback into the game but the away team proved to be strong with their defense.
Kerala next travel to Mumbai on November 2 while Pune visit Kolkata on November 7.