There was a nice and dramatic Ukrainian touch to Kerala Blasters’ party as they clinched their Hero Indian Super League opener 3-1 against East Bengal FC at a packed Nehru Stadium here on Friday.
A 79th-minute substitute for forward Apostolos Gianou, Ukrainian Ivan Kaliuzny made his mark and made a dream debut. Minutes after his arrival, the 24-year-old, who arrived on loan from FK Oleksandria two months ago, made a quick run from the centre, evaded two defenders and slotted the ball home. It was all over at once. And Evan made everything look so easy.
As expected by Blasters coach Ivan Vukomanovic, the new faces have the potential to produce some stunning surprises this season.
The home fans had plenty to celebrate as Ivan returned to produce another beauty from outside the box seven minutes later, shortly after midfielder Alexander Lima reduced the margin for East Bengal. Blasters midfielder Adrian Luna, who was a standout for last year’s runners-up Blasters, earlier scored the opening goal of the ninth edition of the ISL, his effort kissing the crossbar in the 72nd minute.
The first half was quiet but no one expected the second half to be as dramatic. East Bengal goalkeeper Kamaljit Singh was kept very busy by Luna and Apostolos at the start of the second session. He was stable in the beginning, but later things changed drastically.
Kerala Blasters 3 (Adrian Luna 72, Ivan Kaliuzny 82 & 89) bt East Bengal 1 (Alexander Lima 88).
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