In the Indian Super League (ISL) at the JRD Tata Sports Complex in Jamshedpur on Sunday, Dimitrios Diamantakos scored for the fourth time in as many games to give Kerala Blasters a slender 1-0 victory over Jamshedpur FC.
The Blasters achieved a first-ever four-game winning streak in the Hero ISL, and Jamshedpur FC will feel they might have done better.
Four changes were made by the hosts from the team that fell to East Bengal FC. Pratik Chaudhary was replaced in defence by Eli Sabia. Sekh Sahil, Jitendra Singh, and Harry Sawyer were replaced in the midfield by Farukh Choudhary, Ritwik Das, and 19-year-old Phijam Singh. The visitors used the same side that defeated Hyderabad FC two weeks ago as read in a statement released by ISL.
The game's opening minutes were indecisive, but the Blasters eventually seized the lead in the 16th minute. Adrian Luna took a free kick and floated the ball to Diamantakos at the far post. The unmarked Greek striker was able to get on the end of it and skillfully side-foot the ball home from close range due to poor Jamshedpur FC defending.
Luna was a dangerous presence in the middle of the field, but Jamshedpur FC was the team that came the closest to tying the score in the 37th minute. In this match, holding midfielder Jay Thomas, a striker, slid the ball into the box to Das, who then saw Prabhsukhan Gill at full stretch block his goal-bound shot.
Many opportunities arose in the second half, but the Red Miners were unable to capitalize on them. Das' first-half shot was the only one Jamshedpur FC managed to keep on target out of nine attempts at goal.
Ishan Pandita, a substitute, missed a long-range attempt at the hour mark, and less than ten minutes later, Daniel Chukwu's header from an out-swinging corner by Thomas was inches above the crossbar.
Sandeep Singh made a great tackle on Pandita in the 72nd minute, right on the edge of the box. Prior to Thomas standing over the free kick and sending it into the bleachers, the full-back had just received a yellow card. This concluded Jamshedpur's evening.
The win sees Kerala Blasters remain fifth on the table, but they are now three points clear of FC Goa and just one behind ATK Mohun Bagan. Next up for the Blasters is a clash with Bengaluru FC in Kochi on December 11, Sunday.
Jamshedpur FC's run of losses continues as they stay tenth on the table. The Red Miners will visit the Salt Lake Stadium next to face ATK Mohun Bagan FC on December 8, Thursday. (ANI)