Kerala Blasters recovered hope of playing in the Indian Super League semifinals with their win against Mumbai City FC on Wednesday at Tilak Maidan. The team won by 3-1, bumping the Blasters back into the fourth spot in the ISL ranking with 33 points. Mumbai City is lowered down to fifth with 31.
The game was won with a brace by Alvaro Vazquez and a solo shot from Sahal Abdul Samad, who initiated the team’s scoring. The score from Mumbai was secured by Diego Mauricio at a late 71st minute. For Mumbai City FC to be able to qualify for the semifinals, the best they could hope for is for the Blasters to lose their last game and for Mumbai to win their next.
Kerala Blasters Reclaim Fourth Spot in Indian Super League
The match began with both teams unable to advance as the defence did not let up on either side. It went downhill fast for Mumbai after Cassio Gabriel failed a clearance, and Sahal Abdul Samad stole the ball from him, taking it past the Mumbai City defenders and sending it past the keeper Mohamad Nawaz. The score marked Samad’s fifth goal of the season.
With the Blasters at the lead, Mumbai did their best to find the equaliser quick, with Igor Angulo attempting to run into the box but is immediately fended off. Angulo made a couple more tries but to no avail. At this point, the Spaniard was visibly furious with his consecutive goalless performance in the match.
The Kerala Blasters doubled their lead when Vazquez was brought down by Mourtada Fall, and Vazquez’s penalty shot sent Nawaz in the wrong direction, and the ball hit the back of the net. By the end of the first half, the Blasters led with two goals and Mumbai with none.
At the beginning of the second half, Adrian Luna almost gave Kerala Blasters their third goal, but the shot was unfortunately unsuccessful, with Nawaz saving the ball before it hit the net. The third goal eventually fell to Vazquez due to a botched pass from Nawaz after Mourtada Fall back passed to him. Vazquez took the opportunity and secured the third goal, widening the gap between the two teams and slimming the chances for Mumbai to recover.
Mumbai managed to take a consolation goal after Angulo retreated to the benches and Diego Mauricio took his place. Mauricio managed to take advantage of a penalty and secured a goal for Mumbai City. Luna almost had a chance for another goal for Kerala Blasters, but Nawaz denied the shot and kept the score 3-1.
Mumbai will face off with Hyderabad FC this 6 March 2022 to finish off their run this ISL season and the Kerala Blasters against FC Goa on the same day.