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ISL: FC Goa outplay Kerala Blasters FC to win 3-0

Photo courtesy ISL
Photo courtesy ISL
FC Goa overwhelmed Kerala Blasters 3-0 with three second half goals after a goalless first half in the Hero Indian Super League (ISL) at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in Fatorda tonight.
 
After a closely-fought first half, Goa broke the game open after the break, courtesy a brace by substitute Miroslav Slepi?ka on either side of an André Santos strike.
 
The first half ended 0-0, but Goa looked like the team more likely to score throughout, attacking the Kerala goal from the start. They were lively going forward, and managed to extract important saves from Blasters keeper, David James. Tolgay Özbey, Zohib Amiri, Mandar Rao Desai, and André Santos all came agonizingly close to scoring for the hosts. 
 
Özbey hit the inside of the post with following a superb run down the left early in the game, and James made a superb save to deny Santos’ follow-up and then Amiri’s header from the subsequent corner. He made another excellent save when Rao was clean through on goal following a beautifully threaded through ball from Santos. Brazilian Santos came closest to breaking the deadlock, and in fact beat James, only to see his shot headed off the line by Guruwinder Singh.
Miroslav Slepi?ka 
 
Though Kerala made attacking substitutions to start the second half, bringing on Iain Hume and Goan-born Milagres Gonsalves, Goa came out with even more attacking purpose, intent on getting the goal that had been denied them by Kerala’s keeper. 
 
Two goals in six minutes finally broke the Blasters’ resistance. Santos, who had been inconsistent with his delivery up to that point, floated in a perfect free kick from the left in the 63rd minute, which fell to the onrushing Slepi?ka, who calmly finished past James to give Goa the lead. Minutes later, Slepicka and Romeo Fernandes combined to set up Santos, who slotted home from the latter’s cutback.
 
As Kerala looked to get back into the game, they got hit on the break, with Slepi?ka getting his second, and Goa’s third. A clever one-two with Bikramjit Singh played the Czech striker through on goal, and though his first effort was parried by James, Slepi?ka was quickest to react and beat his man to the ball, finishing into an empty net.
 
This was Goa’s third clean sheet in a row, and fifth straight game unbeaten. For Kerala, who boasted the best defence in the league heading into the game, the loss puts an end to their own five-game unbeaten run. 
 
The result sees Zico’s men leapfrog the Blasters into third place, courtesy of a superior goal difference. Their next game is on December 1 against NorthEast United FC, their final home game, while Kerala Blasters host league leaders Chennaiyin FC in a ‘South Indian derby’ on November 30.
 
Match awards:
 
Hero of the Match: André Santos (FC Goa) 
Swift Moment of the Match: David James (Kerala Blasters FC) 
Amul Fittest Player of the Match: Narayan Das (FC Goa)
ISL Emerging Player of the Match: Sandesh Jhingan (Kerala Blasters FC)
 
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