KOCHI: Kerala Blasters FC blanked Chennaiyin FC 3-0 in the first leg of their Indian Super League(ISL) semi final battle to take a decisive step towards a berth in the title round here Saturday.
Ishfaq Ahmed, Iain Hume and substitute Sushant Mathew found the net for the hosts who led 2-0 at half time in the jam packed Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium encounter.
The hosts started off in right earnest but it was the visitors who had the first genuine chance of the match, but Jeje Lalpekhlua's weak shot was saved by kerala custodian Sandip Nandy.
The hosts took the lead in the 27th minute when Victor 'Pulga' Forcada scampered down the centre and passed on to Ahmed who unleashed a snap shot that went in.
Kerala struck the insurance goal two minutes later cashing in on a defensive lapse on the part of the Chennaiyin's star playerAlessandro Nesta. Hume finished off with a firm shot.
Kerala missed a sitter in the 79th minute when Andrew Barisic's shot was parried by rival custodian Bracigliano. Stephen Pearson tried to put home the rebound but the goalkeeper recovered in time to keep his shot out.
Mathew made the final score 3-0 by sending in a curling shot from outside the box following a swift counter attack seconds before the final whistle.
Kerala will play the second leg of their semi-final away Dec 16.