For the first time since 2016, Kerala Blasters will play in the final of the Indian Super League. Ivan Vukomanovic’s men progressed to the last stage thanks to a 2-1 aggregate win over Shield winners Jamshedpur FC.
Carrying a 1-0 advantage with them from the first leg, courtesy of a goal from Sahal Abdul Samad, Kerala Blasters took on Shield winners Jamshedpur, hoping to make it to the final of the Indian Super League for the first time since 2016.
The two sides played a fairly even game at the Tilak Maidan on Tuesday night and couldn’t be separated on the scoreline after ninety minutes, which, in turn, meant the Blasters progressed onwards, thanks to a 2-1 aggregate win.
Kerala started on the front foot, looking to kill the tie off before Jamshedpur had the chance to settle into their rhythm. They nearly took the lead after two minutes, when, played through on goal, Alvaro Vazquez chipped the goalkeeper, but the ball landed on the wrong side of the post. Nine minutes in, Jorge Pereyra Diaz’s commitment to winning the ball back high almost resulted in a comical goal, as Peter Hartley’s clearance struck the forward and rebounded off the crossbar.
All of Kerala’s early dominance paid off in the 18th minute, but it was a moment of magic from Adrian Luna that put them 2-0 up on aggregate. The Spaniard picked the ball outside the Jamshedpur box and sent defenders the wrong way with quick feints before quickly opening his body and curling the ball into the bottom corner.
Daniel Chima Chukwu had the ball in the net at the other end, but as the Red Miners wheeled away in celebration, the referee called the goal back for offside. Jamshedpur did find the net on the night as Pronay Halder, in the 50th minute, poked the ball home from close range following a corner.
The Shield winners piled forwards in search of the equalizer but were denied the opportunity by Prabhsukhan Gill, who made saves to deny Greg Stewart and Ishan Pandita. As a result, Kerala held on to their narrow aggregate lead and will face either Hyderabad FC or ATK Mohun Bagan in the final.