Kerala Blasters FC stunned league leaders Mumbai City FC 3-0 to register their second win of the ISL season as centre-back Mourtada Fall was sent off for the Islanders on Sunday. Sahal opened the scoring for Blasters in the first half, with Alvaro Vazquez doubling the lead just after the restart.
S. Pereyra Diaz then converted from the spot to make it 3-0. The Blasters could have added to the score but managed to keep a clean sheet to inflict just the second defeat of the season on the Islanders.
Mumbai City FC started on the front foot and had a great chance to take the lead in the 5th minute when Igor Angulo’s header from a Mandar Rao Dessai cross was a rather tame one, allowing Prabhsukhan Gill to make an easy save.
Six minutes later Vazquez tried his luck from a distance to catch Mohammad Nawaz off his line but the Mumbai City FC custodian recovered in time to push it away. The Blasters disrupted Mumbai City FC’s passing rhythm with their incessant pressing and forced mistakes from the defending champions.
Ivan Vukomanovic’s side then managed to make one of their chances count in the 27th minute when Jorge Diaz managed to get behind the Mumbai City FC defence and found Sahal with a cross. But the Kerala Blasters FC youngster, who had a lot to do, volleyed the cross past Nawaz emphatically to give the Blasters the lead.
Mumbai City FC tried to produce a sustained spell of pressure but the Blasters were able to thwart their efforts. Lalengmawia had a chance to equalise in the 39th minute but unlike Sahal at the other end, he skied his volley. The Islanders grew a bit frustrated as the half wore on as the Blasters were able to preserve their lead going into half-time. Ivan Vukomanovic's side made a dream start to the second half when Vazquez doubled their advantage with a superb finish two minutes after the restart.
Mumbai City FC who were stunned by the Blasters’ quick start in the second half, invited more trouble when Fall fouled a Blasters player inside the box to concede a penalty and also collect a second yellow card. Pereyra squeezed in his spot-kick past Nawaz in the 51st minute to put the Blasters 3-0 up and completely in charge of the match against the ten men of Mumbai City FC.
Des Buckingham responded with a double substitution bringing in Ygor Catatau and Hmingthanmawia and the Islanders regained their composure. Bipin Singh missed a big chance to get his team on the scoresheet but instead of chipping the ball over the goalkeeper, panicked and shot over in the 65th minute.
Four minutes later, Mumbai City FC had another chance to score when Mehtab Singh rose the highest in the box but couldn’t keep his header on target. The Blasters then brought on fresh legs and were able to close out a crucial victory that took them to the fifth spot in the table. Mumbai City FC remained four points clear at the top despite the defeat.
The Islanders’ next match is against NorthEast United on December 27 while Kerala Blasters FC are back in action on Wednesday when they face Chennaiyin FC in the southern derby.