Kerala Blasters suffered their fourth consecutive defeat in the Indian Super League after losing 3-2 to Pune City.
The crowd in Pune was treated with some excellent attacking football throughout the first half. Kerala Blasters drew first blood in the second minute itself through Mohammed Rafi. He headed home his third goal from as many appearances and gave Kerala an early lead. Despite being ahead, Kerala was forced to be on their defensive mode. Pune was piling up the pressure and it paid off in the 16th minute when Kalu Uche scored the equalizer. Just seven minutes later, Uche scored his second of the game and gave Pune the lead.
Pune’s second goal made Kerala alive and they were creating chances of their own. The aerial strength of Rafi proved to be a big headache for Pune defenders and in the 30th minute, Rafi was at it again. He scored his second goal and game was back to level terms. It was an end to end game afterwards.
Sandesh Jhingan was at his defensive best and kept off the likes of Tuncay and Uche for majority of the time. The score remained 2-2 when the half-time whistle blew.
Cagey Second Half and the deadly blow to Kerala Blasters
The tempo of the match slowed down in the second half although there were some occasional scares at each ends. Chris Dagnall, who was silent in the first half came out alive in the second and caused a potent threat for the Pune defence.
Pune, however, had a better attacking index till the 70th minute. The two goal hero Rafi was pulled off in the 70th minute and on came Calvin Lobo for the away side. Pune brought on Dharmaraj Ravanan just minutes later and he proved to be instrumental. Nicky Shorey curved in a deadly cross into the Kerala penalty box and Tuncay headed it into the back of the net to make it 3-2. Kerala’s desperate efforts to get something out of the game went in vain and Pune hung on till the final whistle.
Picture Courtesy: Indian Super League
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