Kerala blast Dynamos 3-1 in ISL IV clash
New Delhi: Iain Hume got off the mark in 2017-18 Indian Super League (ISL) with a splendid hat-trick to give Kerala Blasters a 3-1 win over Delhi Dynamos at the JLN Stadium in Delhi on Wednesday.
Hume's opener was cancelled out by Pritam Kotal at the stroke of half-time but the former ATK striker ran riot in the second half to complete a well-deserved hat-trick and seal three points for his team.
Miguel Angel Portugal made just one change to the starting XI that held Chennaiyin to a 2-2 draw with Venezuelan central defender Gabriel Cichero coming into the side for the injured Vinit Rai. David Nghaihte continued to lead the lineup top in a 4-2-3-1 formation with Lallianzuala Chhangte slotting in behind him. Jeroen Lumu and Romeo Fernandes were deployed on either flank with Paulinho Dias and Edu Moya marshalling the midfield.
David James also made just the one change to the side which held Pune City to a 1-1 draw as new signing Keziron Kizito was given his first start with Mark Sifneos dropping to the bench. The visitors lined up in a similar 4-2-3-1 formation with Iain Hume returning to centre-forward position, supported by the trio of Jackichand Singh, Courage Pekuson and Dimitar Berbatov.
It was the Blasters who would go ahead in the 12th minute after some great work by Courage Pekuson down the left flank. The Ghanaian left the Delhi defence stunned and supplied a great ball across the face of goal where Gabriel Cichero almost turned it into an own goal before being Hume got the final touch to get his name on the scoresheet.
Paulinho Dias had the chance to put the home side back on level terms almost instantly but his effort from the edge of the box was way off target.
Pekuson was threatening on the left flank for James' men as he gave Kotal a torrid time. The home side enjoyed decent possession but could not really carve out any clear goal-scoring chances in the first-half as the visitors settled into the tie comfortably.
Romeo had a long-range effort too but his shot was well wide. Meanwhile, David James was struck a minor blow five minutes before the end of the first-half as Berbatov had to be taken off due to an injury with Mark Sifneos replacing the Bulgarian. The Dynamos moved level at the stroke of half-time after Pritam Kotal's glancing header to a Romeo Fernandes free-kick had the Kerala defence completely beaten. There was heartbreak for the home-side as well before the half-time whistle as goalkeeper Xabier Iruetaguena went down injured and had to be replaced by Arnab Das Sharma.