Kerala Blasters head coach Ivan Vukomanovic had spoken about the importance of luck in the build-up to Saturday’s crucial Indian Super League (ISL) clash against Chennaiyin FC. After the first 45 minutes at Tilak Maidan in Goa, the Serbian might have been convinced that Lady Luck had deserted him yet again.
Needing a win to bolster their chances of making the semifinals, Vukomanovic had seen striker Jorge Pereyra Diaz miss a couple of gilt-edged chances in the first half. But the Argentine redeemed himself with a three-minute double after restart. Adrian Luna scored the other as Blasters registered a comprehensive 3-0 win.
The Yellow Army face Mumbai in their next outing on Wednesday before their final league fixture against Goa on March 6.
Hungarian attacker Vladimir Koman had almost stunned the Blasters as he rattled the crossbar with a free-kick in the 14th minute. After overcoming early nerves, Blasters were guilty of profligacy in front of the goal with Diaz the main culprit.
Diaz played a one-two with Alvaro Vazquez to enter the Chennaiyin box 24 minutes in, but the Blasters man ballooned his shot with little pressure from opposition. Diaz had an even better chance to break the deadlock in the 38th minute when Luna played a quick free-kick to Vazquez on the right.
The Spaniard whipped the ball across the goal, but Diaz, who arrived at the far post unmarked, missed a sitter.
Chennaiyin, too, did not have the best of halves with Jobby Justin spurning two big chances. The striker first failed to get his header on target from a corner in the 29th minute. He then failed to get the desired connection to a Jerry Lalrinzuala cross three minutes from the break.
Vukomanovic breathed a sigh of relief when Blasters finally drew the first blood in the 52nd minute. Harmanjot Khabra delivered into the box and Luna managed to turn the ball into Diaz’s path, who made no mistake this time around. They did not have to wait long for a second as Diaz scored three minutes later on the rebound after Sanjeev Stalin had hit the woodwork.
Luna then produced another spectacular free-kick as he deceived Vishal Kaith in Chennaiyin goal to seal the 3-0 win in the 90th minute.


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By Dipak

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