ISL 2018-19: FC Pune City punish wasteful Kerala Blasters
Marcelinho Kerala Blasters FC Pune City ISL
An insipid Kerala Blasters paid for their mistakes yet again as they failed to win maximum points for a tenth consecutive game...

Kerala Blasters were handed their third defeat on home soil in the 2018-19 Indian Super League (ISL) as FC Pune City ran out 1-0 winners at the JL Nehru Stadium in Kochi on Friday.

Marcelinho's 20th-minute goal proved to be the difference between the teams as the Yellows extended their winless run to ten games.

The injured Keziron Kizito was replaced by Courage Pekuson but the visitors had four changes from their 2-1 loss to Bengaluru FC. Ashutosh Mehta, Chhuantea Fanai, Martin Diaz and Marko Stankovic made way for Nim Dorjee Tamang, Sarthak Golui, Sahil Panwar. Iain Hume started at his old stomping ground.

Tamang and Ashique Kuruniyan were deployed as the wing-backs with Golui, Matt Mills and Panwar shielding Kamaljit Singh in goal. Pradhyum Reddy's news three-at-the-back system paid dividends from the very off.

Marcelinho snatched the ball from an unsuspecting Anas Edathodika inside the box. In what should have been the opener in the seventh minute itself, the Brazilian chose to slam the ball right towards young keeper Dheeraj Singh from a one-on-one situation.

Kerala Blasters' only bright chance in the entire first half came from the counter-attack that ensued. Pekuson did exceedingly well to lob to ball into empty space inside the box. However, Slavisa Stojanovic failed to make any contact whatsoever in front of an empty net.

Marcelinho did make amends as he broke the deadlock. Kuruniyan at his enigmatic best skippered through two men on the left and released the ball into the box, splitting the Blasters' defence. Marcelinho hit the ball towards the goal on the angle and it took a deflection off of Edathodika's shin to spin over Dheeraj's reach.

Ashique Kerala Blasters FC Pune City ISL

The home side were second best in attempts to create any sort of spark in the final third as the Pune backline had it easy going into the second half.

Stojanovic had a shot saved by Kamaljit after the change of ends, right after CK Vineeth's introduction into the game. Reddy went on the defensive immediately as replaced Marcelinho with Stankovic.

Zakeer Mundampara curler from a corner saw Sahal Abdul Samad came close to heading it into the net. While the Pune City defence remained solid, the hosts had numerous half chances.

Stojanovic remained clueless despite the home side's frantic attempts to pull a goal back. Skipper Sandesh Jhingan had the most glaring opportunity in stoppage time as he headed the ball on target but Kamaljit pulled off a brilliant save.

While Kerala Blasters remained 7th with 11 points, Pune City leapfrogged Delhi Dynamos to go 8th with 5 points on board.

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