ISL 2021-22: Nishu, Khabra fire Kerala Blasters past Odisha, atop table

Kerala Blasters celebrate Nishu Kumar's (#5) goal vs Odisha FC.
Kerala Blasters celebrate Nishu Kumar's (#5) goal vs Odisha FC.
Faheem Hussain/Focus Sports/ ISL

Kerala Blasters FC dominated Odisha FC en-route a comfortable 2-0 victory at the Tilak Maidan Stadium in Vasco on Wednesday. They have regained the lead at the top of the table.

Nishu Kumar (28th) and Harmanjot Khabra (40th) netted first-half goals to keep the Kerala juggernaut rolling. Kerala now have 20 points from 11 games while Odisha, who remain in eighth place, have 13 from 10 matches.

Kerala looked far the better side from the off, stringing together a series of passes in the sixth minute to show early intent.

Odisha got a chance to take the lead in the 26th minute when against the run of play Javi Hernandez forced Prabhsukhan Gill into a good save from a snapshot. Two minutes later, Kerala got their lead. It was a piece of individual brilliance from Nishu Kumar who sent a curling effort into the top right corner from just outside the box after Adrian Luna set him up beautifully.

Kerala doubled their lead five minutes to halftime, Luna involved again as he swung in an accurate corner for Khabra to head in.

Odisha tried to up the ante in the second half but Gill was in top form as he pulled off a brilliant save to deny Jonathas Cristian after the hour-mark.

Jonathas got another chance to pull one back when Jerry Mawihmingthanga sent a crisp ball for him in the box but his header fizzed over the bar. Javi also got a free kick from a good position but his effort sailed over.

Kerala, though, saw off the game with the minimum of fuss. They now play defending champions Mumbai City next on Sunday, January 16.