Kerala United blanks super-six stage topper Wayanad United

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Just four days ago, Wayanad United had jolted Kerala United 2-1 in the 10th Scoreline Kerala Premier League’s super-six stage at Malappuram. On Monday, Kerala had its revenge as it blanked the super-six phase topper Wayanad 3-0 in the first of the double-leg semifinals at the M.K. Jinachandran Memorial District Stadium.

Nigerian forward Ezekiel Oroh gave Kerala gave the lead in the 13th minute finding the net with a nice right-footed shot. The move started with a throw-in from the right followed by two headed passes and Oroh was quick to pounce on the ball that came his way and send it home.

Kerala increased the margin in the 72nd minute with defender M. Manoj, on the left, smartly heading in a Vanlalmalsawma freekick. Vanlalmalsawma made it 3-0 with a beautiful freekick in the injury time.

The Kerala defenders Jadeja and Muhammed Noufal kept Ghanaian midfielder Gbolo Abdulai and striker Issahak Nuhu Seidu — who scored both the goals for Wayanad in their previous meeting — on a tight leash for a major part of the first half. Nuhu, however, came close to scoring in the 40th minute with a swerving freekick that kissed the crosspiece as it went over.

Heavy rain in the evening left the ground a bit slippery and ball control was a problem. But strangely, it appeared to affect the home side more. And Kerala, which was faster and which had more purpose in its attacks, frequently relied on counterattacks to trouble the home side. It intercepted passes well and put pressure and dismantled Wayanad’s attacking moves frequently.

The result: Kerala United 3 (Ezekiel Oroh 13, M. Manoj 72, Vanlalmalsawma 90+7) bt Wayanad United 0.

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