Kerala Blasters FC makes a strong statement in Championship battle with maiden ISL win against hosts Mohun Bagan Super Giant

Kolkata, 27 December 2023: Kerala Blasters FC beat the Mohun Bagan Super Giant (MBSG) for the first time ever in the Indian Super League (ISL) as a 1-0 victory courtesy of a ninth minute strike by Dimitrios Diamantakos at the Salt Lake Stadium in Kolkata took his team to the top of the league table on Wednesday. Ivan Vukomanovic finally managed to get one over his counterpart Juan Ferrando, whose team succumbed to a third straight loss with this result.

The scoreline might not suggest the upper hand that Kerala Blasters FC held in the proceedings, with their dynamic duo of Diamantakos and Kwame Peprah causing constant troubles to the Mariners’ backline. From going direct through long balls to the two forwards interlinking and finding ways around the home team’s defence, they left no stone unturned in chasing this victory.

Diamantakos missed hitting the target by mere inches when he brought down a cross by Pritam Kotal and shot it slightly above Vishal Kaith in the fourth minute. However, it was a sign of things to come, with the Greek forward producing one of the finest individual efforts of the season to bag the winner in this game. Peprah’s long-range shot rebounded but Diamantakos was quick to collect that, before cutting into the box and making his way past Asish Rai and Hector Yuste before hammering the ball into the back of the net from a tight angle with his left foot.

The goal got the visitors on their feet as Diamantakos edged past Jorge Pereyra Diaz to become the leading goal-scorer in the league with seven strikes to his name. Peprah seamlessly drifted across the Mariners’ backline, and he pulled off a shot pretty similar to the one by Diamantakos, from the same angle, a little later but to no avail. Their domestic counterpart Rahul KP was not going to be left behind either. Mohammed Azhar distributed the ball to Rahul at the right side of the box and the striker drilled it off target in an effort that he arguably should have converted with ease.

It reiterated the total control that the visitors maintained throughout the game. MBSG, despite the gifted frontline at their disposal, was not able to create many chances. Hugo Boumous showed some quick feet to get past Danish Farooq and curl in a cross for Armando Sadiku a little after the hour mark. However, the Albanian could not put enough power behind the shot to bag the equaliser. Vishal Kaith kept his calm to keep the scores level even in the added time of the second half, as the Mariners relied on Dimitrios Petratos to do the unthinkable again with the set-piece. However, in the kind of game that it was for the home team, the striker couldn’t shoot the ball beyond the Kerala Blasters FC defensive wall.

Key Performer of the Match

Dimitrios Diamantakos (Kerala Blasters FC)

Diamantakos has stood up to the challenge of Adrian Luna’s absence superbly well. Tonight, he scored once, created a couple of goal-scoring opportunities, in addition to making a tackle, interception, and clearance each. He helped the visitors set the tone for the match right from kick off, and his team reaped the rewards of the same.

What’s next for both teams?

The first half of the season has come to an end for both teams with this match.

Brief Scores

Mohun Bagan Super Giant 0 – 1 Kerala Blasters FC (Dimitrios Diamantakos 9’)

Stat Pack:

Also Read: Crucial points at stake as Mumbai City FC, Chennaiyin FC seek confidence going into the season break

Also Read: Aylmer Gonsalves – The Mechanical Engineer rewriting MFA Super League history

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