ISL: Sahal’s goal helps Kerala overtake Jamshedpur | Soccer News


MARGAO: The Kerala Blasters moved closer to a place in the final with a 1-0 victory over Jamshedpur FC thanks to a goal from Sahal Abdul Samad in the first leg of the Indian Super League semi-final on Friday.
Sahal scored in the 38th minute to put Kerala ahead and it could have been 2-0 for the yellow shirts if Adrian Luna’s knuckleball free-kick hadn’t ricocheted off the woodwork.
Kerala’s defense was also rock solid, withstanding the initial threat from Jamshedpur with Marko Leskovic in the lead.
League Shield winners Jamshedpur looked uncomfortable with Daniel Chima Chukwu fending off two golden chances in the first half and Greg Stewart also missing his usual trickery in the final third.
The second leg on Thursday will be decisive but Kerala will enter the draw with an advantage.
Jamshedpur started on the front foot and Chima missed a golden chance to draw first blood from close range after Pronay Halder headed a free kick from deep in his own half only for the in-form Nigerian to fire a volley large.
Chima was given another chance to atone for his mistake, this time Halder again managed to win the ball from Puitea and set the Nigerian up, but the seasoned striker fired wide after beating his marker.
Meanwhile, Seiminlen Doungel was heartbroken as he got injured and had to be replaced by birthday boy Mobashir Rahman.
Mobashir was in the thick of the action almost immediately, finding the near post from a Stewart free-kick that was just wide of the training ground, foiling the Kerala shirts with a cheeky layoff for a Mobashir no scored passes from the right flank but he decided to try his luck himself, in vain in the end.
For Kerala, Leskovic was on top of his game, keeping the defense tight and also making crucial interceptions as Jamshedpur continued to attack with venom before Kerala scored against the run of play.
Alvaro Vazquez once again highlighted his class and silky skill to first spot Sahal running and then play him a delicious ball over the top which Ricky Lallawmawma tried to clear but instead allowed Sahal to recover more easily the ball and dink it on an advancing Rehenesh.
The second half got off to a slow start before Adrian Luna’s free-kick went inside the post after TP Rehenesh was given a glove just a minute before the hour mark.
At the other end, Ritwik Das – who scored the winning goal against ATK Mohun Bagan to help Jamshedpur win the League Shield – sent an effort over the bar after Stewart and substitute Jordan Murray combined well in the last third.

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