The Kerala Blasters have become the first team in Indian Super League (ISL) history to have four successive home wins, after they beat FC Pune City 2-1 on Friday at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium.
The victory has put them level on points with second-placed Atletico de Kolkata, but behind on goal difference. After last weeks 5-0 hammering by Mumbai City FC, the return to winning ways delighted Blasters coach Steve Coppell.
“Well, we created chances and any coach would be reasonably happy if you’re creating chances. We could have made life alot easier for ourselves. There were a few narrow escapes for us. All in all, I’m delighted to have won the game. Pune are difficult to play against and we did well overall and deserved the victory,” Coppell said after the match.
The Blasters had showed positive intent from the start and were rewarded for their efforts as early as the 7th minute when Duckens Nazon latched on to Dharmaraj Ravanan’s back pass and fired the ball past Bete to give Kerala the lead.
Close to the hour mark the lead was doubled after Aaron Hughes headed home CK Vineeth lobbed ball off a corner. But Pune goalkeeper Bete, did well to prevent a further 4 or 5 goals during the second half.
Pune eventually pulled one back through Anibal Zurdo’s free kick during the 5th minute of stoppage time but it was far too late for the visitors to mount a comeback.
The Blasters now only need to win one of their remaining games against Atletico de Kolkata on Tuesday or NorthEast United on 4th December, to qualify for the semi-finals, but both these remaining league games are ‘big’ as Coppell acknowledged.
“This league has been surprising with results and points come in ways you don’t expect. We’ve got to stay within ourselves and not look at anybody else to do any favours for us. We’ve got two big games to come,” he said.