ISL: Diaz scores on return as Blasters suffer hat-trick of defeats

Diaz reacts after scoring Mumbai's second goal. Photo: ISL

Kochi: Kerala Blasters plunged to a hat-trick of defeats in the Indian Super League as Mumbai City beat them 2-0 at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium here on Friday.

Pereyra Diaz, on his first meeting with his former club, scored from a tap-in on 31 minutes after Mehtab Singh's 21st minute piledriver had silenced a loyal home crowd.

Diaz's strike was aided by the Blasters' failure to clear their lines, a trait that was visible in their two recent defeats. It was a simple finish, unlike Singh's vicious strike.

That Diaz apologised to the home support that had once cheered him on, with folded palms, was probably the best moment to cherish for the Blasters’ faithful because their own players had failed to show the character to end a two-match winless run.

Mehtab Singh
Mehtab Singh drew first blood for Mumbai. Photo: ISL

Mumbai had issued a few warnings in the early exchanges and the Blasters had merely been lucky to get away.

The Blasters can argue that they were brave enough in the second half, just not fortunate. To an extent, they would be right. Luna hit the post, and at least a pair of free headers, one from Diamantakos and another off Jeakson, went wide.

But by the time the Blasters had decided to get brave on the ball, be aggressive off it, or simply show up, they were trailing 2-0 and all Mumbai had to do was play smart and get lucky, which they did.

Individually, the Blasters were impressive, but collectively a failure. Rahul KP was like a firefly in pitch dark, he livened up the Blasters' night with the occasional flicker of brilliance. In some sense, he was the only player in yellow who seemed to be enjoying the occasion.

Rahul tormented young Mumbai left-back Sanjeev Stalin throughout the match. The Kerala winger pulled a number of tricks -- the rainbow, a pullback, a roulette too -- that enthralled the fans at best. But Rahul's show of skill wasn't enough to manufacture goals and that in the end made the whole difference.

Mumbai City have moved into second position in the points table with eight points while the Blasters stay ninth.

Blasters will next play NorthEast United in Guwahati on November 5.

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