Ivan’s brace guides Kerala Blasters to a win over East Bengal in Hero ISL 2022-23 season opener

Kerala Blasters FC put up a spirited show to register a 3-1 win over East Bengal in the opening match of the Hero ISL 2022-23 at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in Kochi on Friday. A win for Kerala ensures they stay unbeaten against East Bengal in five encounters of the Hero Indian Super League.
The excitement of the fans was palpable witnessing a game at home after a two-year hiatus.
EBFC secured the first corner of the evening in the third minute of the game after an Alex Lima interception, only to have it cleared by the Kerala defence.
KBFC immediately counter-attacked the next minute through Puitea and Giannou but the cross couldn’t find its destination.
Midfielder Alex Lima had East Bengal fans on the edge of their seats with a free-flowing attempt from outside the box in the eighth minute but was denied a goal blocked by goalkeeper Prabhsukan Gill.
The interceptions and crosses continued through the first half as none of the teams were able to get through the deadlock in an exciting phase. The teams entered half-time without any goals against their names.
East Bengal goalkeeper was exceptional at the post and ensured in keeping the home side at bay. His 50th minute save to deny Giannou a goal was the highlight of the match until now.
KBFC drew first blood in the 72nd minute as a long ball from Harmanjot Khabra found Adrian Luna perfectly placed inside the penalty box to chip in over Kamaljit and inside the net. The brilliant goal sent the stadium into a frenzy with passionate Yellow Army extending their support to the team they had long awaited.
A 82nd minute solo-run stunner from substitute Ivan Kaliuizhnyi increased the home side’s lead to 2-0 with East Bengal not able to thwart this tactical attack.
Lima pulled one back for the visitors with a 87th strike from a set piece to register the team’s first goal of the season.
Kaliuizhnyi struck again in the 89th minute to make it 3-1 and take an unassailable lead.
EBFC take on FC Goa in the second fixture of the league and their first at home on October 12.