Matchweek 6: Kerala Blasters FC produce an all-round effort to pip East Bengal FC 2-1, in an edge-of-the-seat encounter

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Indian Super League (ISL) 2023-24
Matchweek 6 Report: Kerala Blasters FC Vs East Bengal FC

KOLKATA: Kerala Blasters FC put on a strong display that led to a 2-1 victory against East Bengal FC at the Salt Lake Stadium in Kolkata in the Indian Super League (ISL) 2023-24. Moreover, as has been the case right throughout the season, it was their charismatic captain Adrian Luna who steered the Blasters to a crucial victory on the road before the team headed into the international break.

The Uruguayan international was constantly teasing the East Bengal backline, finding opportunities that could help him create a chance out of nowhere. One such chance emerged in the 32nd minute, as Luna spotted a disoriented opposition defense and carved it open with a crafty pass for fellow teammate Daisuke Sakai.

The 26-year-old immediately rushed into the box, tricked Mohamad Rakip with quick footwork, and shot the ball past Prabhsukhan Singh Gill to hand his side the lead. Sakai thus became only the fourth Japanese player to score a goal in ISL history, after Cy Goddard, Katsumi Yusa, and Rei Tachikawa.

If Luna has been Kerala’s star in attack, young goalkeeper Sachin Suresh has come up as a surprise package at the back. His distribution has been commendable, recording a 57% passing success rate in six appearances so far. However, it is his shot-stopping that has made heads turn, as he saved a penalty in his second successive game tonight. Brazilian striker Cleiton Silva had a brilliant opportunity to draw scores level in the 85th minute, but Sachin dived to his right and saved the shot amidst joyous celebration from his teammates, becoming the first goalkeeper in ISL history to save penalties in consecutive matches.

East Bengal was shaken for a bit after that event, and the Blasters immediately capitalized as Sandeep Singh’s delivery to Dimitrios Diamantakos met little resistance with the effort eventually being converted into a goal in the 88th minute. The Greek striker was shown his second yellow card soon afterward though, thus getting sent off in the 89th minute. That one-man advantage led to the home side earning a spot-kick in the ninth minute of added time, and Silva did convert the penalty this time around. Only, there weren’t enough minutes left for them to salvage an equalizer eventually.

Key Performer of the Match

Sachin Suresh (Kerala Blasters FC)

The 22-year-old became the eighth youngest goalkeeper in ISL history to save a spot-kick, and his ability to elevate his game at crucial junctures has helped the Blasters secure important points in two straight games now. There are a lot more impressive performances to come from this talented custodian in the coming matches of this campaign.

What’s next for both teams?

Both teams will now play in the league in a doubleheader on November 25. East Bengal FC will take on Chennaiyin FC on the home turf of the latter, whereas the Kerala Blasters FC will host Hyderabad FC.

Brief Scores

Kerala Blasters FC 2 (Daisuke Sakai 32’, Dimitrios Diamantakos 88’) – 1 (Cleiton Silva 99’) East Bengal FC

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