Kerala Blasters FC sneaked past Punjab FC by a slight margin of 1-0 to secure an important victory at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium here in the Indian Super League (ISL) match on Thursday night.
Kerala Blasters FC kept their first clean sheet in 10 away encounters as a neat defensive performance coupled with conversion of a spot-kick in the 51st minute handed the Kerala Blasters FC three points after a draw and a loss respectively in their last two games.
Punjab FC were on the move right from the offset. The Blasters appeared to have kept a conservative approach in the beginning, as they adjusted to a brief phase of the season in the absence of skipper Adrian Luna.
This resulted in the home team being brave in taking their chances, with Madih Talal, Krishnananda Singh, and Nikhil Prabhu coming close to break the deadlock in the first half. One of these moves was that when Prabhu and Talal interlinked, thanks to a cross by the latter that the defender squandered despite taking the shot from the middle of the 18-yard box.
Mohammed Aimen was the standout performer from the Punjab FC midfield tonight. Just before the half-time break, he had joined hands with Kwame Peprah by setting up a pass in the path of the striker that the 22-year-old shot off target.
Aimen though worked his way inside the box in the 50th minute to earn a foul though, that led to Dimitrios Diamantakos converting the subsequent spot-kick. With Luna injured out, Diamantakos had the onus to make this chance count. The Greek forward didn’t disappoint, slotting the ball in the middle of the net.
Punjab FC had a glimmer of hope with former NorthEast United FC forward Wilmar Jordan Gil coming off the bench to take a promising shot inside the box. The effort was well dealt with by an organised backline of the visitors, as the Tuskers sealed an important win.
Punjab FC will next host Chennaiyin FC on December 18, whereas Kerala Blasters FC will welcome Mumbai City FC for their coming clash on December 24.