Kochi: Kerala Blasters’ dry run at home in the Hero Indian Super League continued as they suffered a 0-1 defeat to FC Pune City at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium here Friday. Kerala have been winless at home this season and have not picked up full points since their opening round win against ATK.
The only goal of the match came in the 20th minute from Marcelinho as Pune City registered only their second win of the campaign. The win takes Pune to eighth spot and are now only a point off Kerala who remain a spot above. Blasters are winless in 10 games now.
The visitors opened the scoring in the 20th minute through a deflected effort from Marcelinho. Ashique Kuruniyan cut inside from the left flank and fed the forward with a through-ball into the box. Marcelinho’s shot took a wicked deflection off Anas’ legs and found the bottom right corner.
Kerala saw a lot of the ball for the rest of the half as they battled to find an equaliser. However, Pune’s defence looked unusually solid as they kept the home side at bay. The home side upped the ante after the restart and restricted the visitors to efforts from outside the box. One such shot by Marko Stankovic, however, flew inches wide of the post in the 59th minute.
The ever-present Sahal Samad went close from Zakeer’s corner-kick a few minutes later. The delivery was headed just wide at the near post by the Kerala-born youngster. Kerala had made a habit of getting equalisers late in the game but this time, it was not to be as Kamaljit Singh came up with a splendid save off a Jhingan header, while Vineeth hit the post to cap off a frustrating night for David James’ side.
I-League: Neroca win
Last season’s runners-up Neroca FC regained that very same position in the I-League points table with a 3-0 victory over Indian Arrows at the Khuman Lampak stadium. Japanese winger Katsumi Yusa, Nigerian striker Felix Chidi and midfielder Malemnganba Meitei were on target for the home team as they dished out a professional performance to completely outplay the Arrows youngsters.