The southerners stayed alive in the race for the playoffs thanks to a Wes Brown goal in the first half.
Kerala Blasters kept their play-off hopes alive by edging the hosts NorthEast United FC 0-1 in an ill-tempered game that threatened to boil over. The home team players were riled up by a number of poor refereeing decisions that went against them that also saw manager Avram Grant being banished to the stands. The curtains came down on the Highlanders quota of home games and they suffered their 4th consecutive 1-0 loss on the trot in the league.
Here’s how the Indian players on both sides rated:
Watch: NorthEast United 0-1 Kerala Blasters highlights
TP Rehenesh– 7.0
Didn’t have much thrown at him from the Blasters, made a couple of good saves including an instinctive stop from a miscued clearance from teammate Nirmal Chettri.
Gursimrat Singh Gill– 7.5
Playing on the right side of a defensive back three, the young defender, making his start of the season had a good game, defended well and was composed on the ball. Didn’t allow the opposition attack to make much inroads
Nirmal Chettri– 6.5
Playing in the centre of a back three in place of his usual right back slot, Nirmal stayed deep in his own half and was defensively tidy, making a total of 6 clearances. Almost scored an own goal from a miscued clearance.
Reagan Singh– 6.0
Played as a right wing-back, kept the ball moving with a pass completion rate of 78%. Gave the team width with his runs upfront but failed to provide anything of note offensively.
Robert Lalthlamuna– 5.5
Captain for the night, the traditional left-back had to play in a more dynamic let wing back role. Whipped in a couple of good crosses into the box but didn’t look very threatening going forward. Was poor defensively, particularly in the first half, got caught napping a couple of times.
Lalrempuia Fanai– 7.5
One of the bright spots from the night, the young Mizo midfielder making his first start of the season looked comfortable with the ball at his feet. Fanai created 3 goalscoring opportunities sending in a number of promising balls upfront and also made a team high of 6 crosses. Looked jaded towards the end of the game
Rowllin Borges– 6.5
The India International’s performance was a mixed bag, gave the ball away clumsily at times, but yet finished with a pass completion rate of 82%. Tried hard but couldn’t quite prevent the likes of Pekuson to have an upper hand in midfield.
Lalrindika Ralte– 8.0
Worked hard on the defensive side of his game, winning the ball in midfield numerous times and in the process making 6 tackles. His passing was crisp and along with Maic Sema looked to be the NEUFC men likely to provide the team with some response creating 4 goalscoring chances. Came close to adding to his collection of long range screamers on a few occasions including hitting the crossbar in the 2nd half.
Seminlen Doungel– 4.0
Brought on to inject some pace to the side chasing an equaliser, but had little impact.
Not on long enough to rate.
Sandesh Jhingan– 8.0
The Blasters captain was a rock at the heart of the defence along with partner Wes Brown not putting a foot wrong the whole game. He was particularly impressive dealing with the physical threat of John Mosquera being strong in the aerial duels inside the penalty box. Made a game high of 9 clearances.
Rino Anto– 6.5
The right back didn’t have much trouble manning his side of the defence barring one occasion when he let in Danilo to bomb into the penalty box and have a pop at goal when he should have done better.
Prasanth K– 7.5
Starting the game at right wing he slotted into the left back slot after 10 minutes. The Kerala lad put in an industrious performance, continuously making enterprising runs forward to join in on attack. He also dropped back and defended quite well making 4 blocks, tackles and clearances
Arata Izumi– 6.0
Didn’t protect his defence well getting outmuscled a couple of times in the 1st half by Maic Sema and Danilo allowing them to run through the midfield. Apart from that got on with the game decently. Came off in the 65th minute
Jackichand Singh– 8.5
Provided the assist for the only goal in the match, floating in a vicious delivery from a corner or Wes Brown to head home. Jacki with his pace and his intelligent runs was a menace to the Highlanders defence. He was dangerous with his crossing, almost forcing NEUFC to concede an own goal on one instance, he also created 3 goalscoring chances. The Manipur born speedster also dropped deep to help his defence, making two important interceptions.
CK Vineeth– 6.5
The Manjappada favourite put in a hardworking shift all game, pressing in hard whenever the opposition defenders had the ball. The winger was strong in holding off challenges when in possession and tried his bit in taking the match away from the Highlanders. Should have made the most of the goalmouth scramble in the 1st half when he was the Blasters player in closest proximity
Milan Singh– 5.5
Came on to shore things up in the final 30 minutes when the Blasters looked to protect their 1-0 lead. Did just fine.
Karan Sawhney– NA
Not on long enough to rate