Durand Cup: Luna penalty enables Kerala Blasters to beat Indian Navy
Kolkata, September 11, 2021
Riding on Uruguayan midfielder Adrian Luna's 71st-minute spot-kick conversion Kerala Blasters marked their Durand Football Cup debut with a 1-0 victory over Indian Navy at the Vivekananda Yuba BharatiKrirangan (VYBK) here on Saturday.
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 muffed the best chance they had in the 73rd minute, and that cost them dearly.
The opportunity was textbook and it 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 Britto, who had an open goal to aim for. The former East Bengal winger, however, shot wide.
The breakthrough goal had arrived two minutes earlier, following an erratic challenge inside the box by Navy’s Dalraj Singh, which was adjudged to be yellow-carded worthy and a penalty was awarded in favor of Kerala.
Luna stepped up for the responsibility 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 some of our players,” said Kerala Blasters Head Coach Ivan Vukomanović following the game.