Kolkata, Sep 11 (IANS) Indian Super League (ISL) side Kerala Blasters started their Durand Cup campaign with a 1-0 victory on debut against the Indian Navy Football Team at the Vivekananda Yuba BharatiKrirangan (VYBK) on Saturday.
Uruguayan midfielder Adrian Luna scored the match-winner off a spot-kick in the 72nd minute.
Scores remained level at half-time and given how wasteful both teams were in either half, it seemed that the 130th Durand Cup was heading for its first goalless draw.
The Navy team did an incredible job in their opening game when they came back from a goal down to win against Delhi FC and had they only tucked away from the biggest chance they had on Saturday in the 74th minute, they could have ensured passage to the quarter-finals.
The opportunity sprung out of a Navy counterattack. Ultimately, it was squandered, not once but twice. First, Sreyas VG had to put his shot away with only Albino Gomes to beat, but the Blasters custodian palmed it away.
Only for the ricochet to fall straight at the feet of PM Britto, who had an open goal to aim for. The former East Bengal winger, however, astonishingly shot wide.
The breakthrough goal came two minutes earlier, following an erratic challenge inside the’box by Navy’s Dalraj Singh, which was adjudged to be yellow-card worthy and a penalty was awarded to Kerala.
Adrian Luna stepped up and made no mistake in making it 1-0 for his side.
“We are happy with the three points. It was our idea of today’s game. It was really hard in these circumstances with the rain and the condition of the pitch. We wanted to finish the game without injuries but now we have to see how to recover som” of our players”, said Kerala Blasters Head Coach Ivan Vukomanovic following the game.