GUWAHATI: Kerala Blasters (KBFC) have qualified for the quarterfinals of the 131st Indian Oil Durand Cup after defeating the Army Green Football Team (AGFT) 2-0 in a Group D match at the Indira Gandhi Athletic Stadium here on Wednesday.
Muhammed Aimen and Aritra Das scored for the winners who were dominant throughout the game.
The game had a great flow from the beginning from both sides. The teams played some attacking football in each other's box. KBFC started to control the midfield with Vibin Mohanan and Muhammed Azhar, who have been consistently good in the tournament, calling the shots. They found the attacking foursome of Ajsal, Gaurav, Aimen and Roshan from time to time and were creating pressure on the Army defence.
The first goal came from such a move involving Roshan, Ajsal and Aimen. Roshan carried the ball from the right and found Ajsal in the middle who found Aimen on the left wing. Muhammed Aimen unleashed an exquisite right footed curler into the top left corner to give the Blasters the lead.
The youngsters of KBFC have made a habit of scoring wonderful goals all throughout the tournament and the second goal was one such. In stoppage time, Aritra Das carried the ball down the left wing, entered the box and struck a bullet of a shot into the top corner. Army keeper Rolua Puia was left stunned.
Army Green was good in patches with PC Lallawmkima making some good runs inside the box. The best chance for them came from a counter attack which was wasted by Gautam Singh from a pass by Chabin Rabha.
AGFT began the second half with more intent and pressed high with fresh legs having been introduced by gaffer Robichandra Singh. They dispossessed Blasters often but could not create any genuine goal scoring chances. The ones they did were either wasted or defended with ease by the Blasters defence. Tejas Krishna and Marwan Hussain along with Goalkeeper Sachin Suresh ensured that the Army men were kept under control.
On the other end, Kerala was attacking with intent as well and creating opportunities. The attackers were combining well to create more pressure for the Army defence. Aimen had a chance to become the joint top scorer of the tournament but his header hit the post.
The Blasters qualified for the knockouts with seven points while AGFT has one game remaining against table toppers Odisha FC, which will be played on September4.