Durand Cup: Kerala Blasters go down fighting in Kerala Derby

Kolkata, (UNI) Indian Super League (ISL) outfit Kerala Blasters FC narrowly went down 4-3 in a seven-goal thriller against Gokulam Kerala FC in their opening fixture of the Durand Cup 2023 at the Mohun Bagan Ground here on Sunday.

After a low-key start to the match, Kerala Blasters started dominating ball possession. But to everybody’s surprise, Bouba Aminou fired a goal for Gokulam from a Nili Perdomo corner to put his side ahead in the derby.

The Blasters hurried back for an equalizer, and it took them a flurry of attacks to level the terms. In the 34th minute, the Gokulam Kerala keeper faltered in clearing the Adrian Luna free-kick, from which Nihal pounced on the rebound to hit the crossbar, but Justine Emmanuel made no mistake as he capitalized on the third opportunity.

But it was again all Gokulam Kerala after that equalizing goal. The I-League side regrouped and scored two more goals through Sreekuttan VS and Alex Sanchez as the first half ended 3-1 in favour of the Malabarians.

Soon after the break, Gokulam added another goal to their tally to extend the lead further when Captain Sanchez laid it off for Abhijith, who launched a powerful strike from long range that rattled the back of the net. At this point, Gokulam Kerala FC was playing their best brand of football.

However, the Blasters broke free from their shackles and scored two more goals through Prabir Das and Adrian Luna, but that was not enough to salvage a point from this game. Forward Bidyshagar Singh, who came on as a substitute, missed the easiest opportunity of the game as he squandered his chance from close range.

Kerala Blasters FC will next take on their Southern rivals Bengaluru FC on Friday at the Kishore Bharati Krirangan here.

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