Kerala Blasters, despite struggling at the foot of the table, made short work of NorthEast United on Sunday, as they romped home to a 4-1 victory over the Highlanders.
NorthEast United played gracious hosts as Kerala Blasters routed the Highlanders 4-1 on their way to their first away victory in an Indian Super League encounter on Sunday.
NorthEast United manager Cesar Farias opted to rest as many as seven players from their lineup that defeat Chennaiyin FC, and the change seemed to have evidently backfired as the Highlanders conceded within 29 seconds from the kickoff. Kerala Blasters, on the other hand had made four changes to their lineup that saw Antonio German start the match in place of the injured Sanchez Watt. Cavin Lobo, who had defied expectations against Guam in the World Cup qualifiers, got a nod in the starting lineup alongside India international Sandesh Jhingan and Pulga.
With as many as seven changes to their lineup, the hosts appeared unsettled and they paid the price for it as Kerala Blasters forward Chris Dagnall, who scored a brace in the match, put the visitors ahead from the very first attack. The Highlanders went on to concede three more goals as Cavin Lobo and Antonio German joined in the fun. NorthEast United did manage to score a consolation through Nicolas Velez late in the injury time but it was too late to turn the course of the match.
With the win Kerala Blasters managed to remove themselves from the foot of the table but Chennaiyin FC have a match in hand to Kerala Blasters. Kerala Blasters made an electric start with the goal on 29 seconds, as Dagnall duly converted the easy tap in opportunity which was created due to Germana s driving run on the left.
NorthEast United, who were having a tough time to adjust to the changes in their lineup, did slowly manage to somewhat grow out of the shell, when the Loboa s goal on the 21st minute completely knocked the stuffing out of the Highlanders. NorthEast United gave an easy chance to Cavin Lobo after getting their offside trap horribly wrong. The Highlanders would have thought that the half time whistle couldna t come anytime sooner for them as they looked to regroup during the break but sadly Kerala Blasters didna t allow NorthEast United back into the game and went on to look for more goals to help better their goal difference.
NorthEast United could have complained about lady luck deserting them, when their shout for a penalty on the 55th minute was turned down, as Rahul Bheke looked to have caught Simao Sabrosa inside the box. Two minutes later Kerala Blasters put the result beyond doubbt as they scored two goals within a minute. German curled it past Rehenesh with his left foot after receiving the ball from the right flank. Dagnall then ensured that there was no way back with a brilliant solo run and finish to complete the rout.
NothEast Uniteda s late consolation goal might come to help only if the goal difference are needed to differentiate the teams for a spot in the semi-finals.