Vasco, March 14: Kerala Blasters edge past Jamshedpur FC with a draw in the second leg of the semi-final in the Indian Super League to book a place in the final of the Indian Super League 2021/22 season at the Tilak Maidan here on Tuesday.
A goal from Adrian Luna helped the Kerala side enter the ISL final for the third time. Previously, Blasters played the finals of the 2014 and 2016 seasons.
Pronay Halder scored in the 50th minute to provide a consolation goal for Jamshedpur. After the end of the final whistle, Blasters win the semi-final with a 2-1 aggregate score against Jamshedpur.
Blaster’s utter dominance as a counter-attacking team was in full display against a Jamshedpur team that played an organised high pressing football.
The lessons learned from the first leg of the first semi-final game was not at all implemented by Jamshedpur in containing the attacking prowess of Blasters.
Jorge Pereyra Díaz, Álvaro Vázquez, and Luna placed constant pressure on Peter Hartley and his men in defence.
However, the effective work from Jamshedpur opened up Blasters often in their box. Their precision freekicks and setpieces proved to have their impact.
Kerala Blasters started the match with patience while Jamshedpur tried to open up their robust defence. However, the counter-attacking threat of Blasters posed a real threat for Jamshedpur early on in the match.
Blasters went almost ahead in the 9th minute after Diaz hit the post and then put the ball into the back of the net.
However, it was ruled offside seconds later by the referee.
Jamshedpur’s failure in identifying their lapses in the defence continued to leave them vulnerable in the back.
Despite playing with a low line, Blasters posed a real threat through counter-attacks and took their lead through Luna in the 18th minute to hand Kerala an aggregate lead of 2-0.
A pass from Vazquez found Luna from the left. The Uruguian losing his marker took a sidefooted shot that curled inside the right post. This was the sixth goal for the Uruguayan star.
Greg Stewart managed some excellent defensive blocks for Jamshedpur and denied Kerala from playing dangerous runs into the box.
However, Jamshedpur went almost level in the 36th minute through Chukwu, but the referee disallowed it for offside.
Kerala started strongly in the second half, but it was Jamshedpur who levelled the game through Halder in the 50th minute. A well-placed corner from Jamshedpur was tapped in by Halder.
Jamshedpur continued their dominance in the second half by playing dangerous balls into the box. They went closer to goal in the 65th minute through a free-kick from Stewart only to be brilliantly cleared away by Kerala goalkeeper, Prabhsukhan Gill. Diaz was there to clear the rebound. Blasters struggled to deal with the organised game plan of Jamshedpur.
Kerala side won the first leg of the Indian Super League semi-final with a 1-0 win. The solo goal from Sahal Abdul Samad ensured Blasters a slight advantage over the Jamshedpur side that won the ISL shield. (Agencies)
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