Kerala Blasters FC suffered their first setback of the Hero Super Cup 2023 on Wednesday. They failed by 2-0 to Sreenidi Deccan FC at the EMS Corporation Stadium in Kozhikode.
Rilwan Hassan’s brilliant finish and skipper David Castaneda’s magnificent volley helped the Hero I-League runners-up breeze over the Blasters.
Sreenidi Deccan head coach Carlos Manuel Vaz Pinto stated in the pre-match press conference that his squad had everything to show against the Kerala team. And they did so in style on match day, setting off with the same confidence that gained them a crucial point against Bengaluru FC in their opener.
Phalguni Singh, named the match’s Hero, performed as an anchor in the middle, controlling the speed of the game, and it was he who initiated the move that resulted in their first goal in the 17th minute. The midfielder went a few feet before handing the ball to Rilwan Hassan. The former Midtjylland midfielder surged inside and beat his defender before unleashing a low shot to the far post to put his team ahead.
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Sreenidi deserved their lead after being the more inventive team in the first period. In the absence of their talisman, Adrian Luna, the Kerala Blasters appeared flat. Worse was to come for them.
Just before halftime, the team’s captain, David Castaneda, made it 2-0. This time, Hassan initiated the move, sending the ball wide out to Dinesh Singh on the left wing. Inside the penalty area, the left back whipped in a curling cross. While the ball had the necessary venom, it took some further individual brilliance to result in a goal.
Castaneda supplied it, leaping high and volleying the ball into the top corner while in mid-air. It might end up becoming the tournament’s aim.
The Tuskers pushed hard in the second half to mount a comeback, but they lacked a cutting edge up front.
In the 68th minute, Sreenidi custodian Aryan Lamba was called into action, his fingertips diverting the ball onto the post to thwart Mark Leskovic’s header.
As a result, Sreenidi might qualify for the semi-finals if they beat Hero I-League winners RoundGlass Punjab FC in their last group encounter on Sunday.
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