KOCHI: If only Kerala Blasters could borrow Ferran Corominas for a few matches. However, Blasters had to bear the brunt of one of the most prolific strikers that the Indian Super League (ISL) has seen. It was Coro’s night as he led FC Goa to a 3-1 win over the Blasters. With the win, Goa go into the international break as table toppers while Kerala find themselves in seventh spot.
Kerala knew that a defensive approach may not serve them well against FC Goa. And Blasters coach David James’ team selection gave an indication that this was a more attacking and enterprising team. Wholesale changes were made. Five in total. Defender Anas Edathodika was given his first league start as he paired up with compatriot Sandesh Jhingan. Other than that, all were attacking changes. Matej Poplatnik was brought in to form a two-man strike force. The off-colour CK Vineeth was dropped. Meanwhile, FC Goa did make two changes. The notable one being Hugo Boumous replaced by Carlos Pena.
But the names that have terrorized defences were all there — Corominas, Edu Bedia and Ahmed Jahouh. Blasters looked for a strong start. They didn’t want to let Goa take control. For ten minutes, it looked like Kerala had the measure of the visitors. FC Goa weren’t really threatening. However, Blasters were in for a surprise.
Jhingan and Anas were keeping a close watch on Corominas, but the Spaniard managed to get the better of both of them. The hosts were defending a corner and they did well to clear it away. However, the ball found its way to Jahouh. He swung the ball back in and Corominas pulled away from the defenders before straining his neck and flicking the ball past his former teammate Naveen Kumar. Even though he was facing away from goal, he knew exactly where the goal was.
Goa were 1-0 up in the tenth minute. Apart from the goal, the half was largely tepid. Blasters defended in numbers and denied FC Goa any space. The visiting side simply passed the ball around and were dominating the midfield. Eventually, they unlocked Kerala again.
Corominas picked up the ball from near the half-way line and ran at the defenders. It was Corominas at his best, excellent close control, ability to skip past defenders, split second decision-making and the finishing. It was his eighth goal of the campaign. Until that point, Kerala had done well but the goal just before half-time was a sucker-punch. They never really recovered. Manvir Singh made it 3-0 for Goa with a bullet header. With nothing to lose, Kerala had a go at the Goa defence and Nikola Krcmarevic scored in the 90th minute.
Gokulam cruise against Lajong
KOZHIKODE: Gokulam Kerala FC proved to be much stronger for the young Shillong Lajong as they muscled their way to win their third home game 3-1, at the EMS Corporation Stadium here. Gani Nigam, Antonio German and Rajesh S scored for Gokulam while Buam was the lone scorer for Shillong Lajong FC.