ISL 2021-22: Kerala Blasters go top of the table after win over Hyderabad

Kerala Blasters' Alvaro Vazquez volleys in the winner against Hyderabad FC.
Kerala Blasters' Alvaro Vazquez volleys in the winner against Hyderabad FC.
R.Parthibhan/Focus Sports/ISL

Kerala Blasters moved to the top of the ISL table after ending Hyderabad FC's unbeaten run to an end with a 1-0 win at the Tilak Maidan on Sunday.

Alvaro Vazquez (42') scored a first-half goal which eventually proved to be the winner as Kerala stretched their unbeaten streak to nine games, moving to the top of the points table with a better goal difference than Mumbai City FC, both being on 17 points from 10 games. This is the first time Kerala have topped the ISL table at any stage of the season in the last seven years.

Hyderabad, on the other hand, saw their eight-game unbeaten run come to an end as they dropped to the third in the table, with 16 points from 10 matches.

The game started with Hyderabad on the front foot. They had a chance to take the lead early on when Edu Garcia's free-kick was deflected onto the crossbar by Prabhsukhan Gill after the ball was curled expertly over the wall.

Bartholomew Ogbeche was then shown his fourth yellow card in the next minute for a challenge on Gill, which means he will miss the next match.

After that bright start from Hyderabad, it was all Kerala.

Kattimani pulled off a brilliant save in the 24th minute to deny a Jorge Diaz header from about five yards out.

Kerala kept forcing the issue before Vazquez delivered. A long throw-in was met by Sahal Abdul Samad who flicked it behind and across the six yard box where Vazquez struck a powerful volley on the spin to beat the keeper.

Hyderabad came close through Ogbeche on the cusp of halftime but the Nigerian shot wide from an angle. In the second period, Hyderabad tried to up the ante but failed to muster any real opportunity in front of goal barring one from substitute Javier Siverio. His scuffed shot beat Gill, but not Kerala skipper Jessel Carneiro who kept his side in the lead with a goalline clearance.

The referee played 12 minutes of added time after a series of stoppages, but Kerala held on for the win.