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Kenkre FC have started their I-League Qualifiers 2021 campaign with a come from behind victory over Group B favorites Kerala United FC

Goals from Lester Fernandes and Ranjeet Pandre gave Kenkre FC, a brilliant come from behind win after Bujair V had put Kerala United into the lead early in the 2nd half.

The match began on an even note as both teams looked cagey to start with. The game had its first big chance in the 7th minute when Kerala’s Munmun took a shot from a distance which was tipped over by an alert Kenkre Custodian Tenzin Samdup. Soon after, in the 11th minute, Kenkre had their chance from a set piece situation squandered away as Azza’s freekick from just outside the box couldn’t beat the wall after striker Ranjeet Pandre was brought down at the edge of the box by Kerala’s Athul.

Midway through the 1st half, Kerala had another good chance when Bujair found himself in space near the Kenkre Box, however, the Kerala forward failed to hit his shot on target. Kenkre soon grew into the game with a couple of good crosses inside the box but nothing came off it as the half ended at 0-0.

The second half started with Kerala taking on the game immediately and soon got rewarded with a goal after a beautiful set of passes. After finding himself unmarked on the wings, Salman sent in a curling ball inside the Kenkre Box where Nimshad’s flicked header was met by an onrushing Bujair, whose hit found the net and made it 1-0 for Kerala.

But as Kerala looked to take control of the game, a good attacking move from Kenkre ended with Dipu being brought just inside the penalty box by a lunging tackle from Kerala’s Brazilian defender Gabriel Lima. The resulting penalty was easily tucked away to the left of the goal by Lester to make it 1-1.

Around the 70th minute, from a Kerala corner, Munmun’s cross found an unmarked Akhil inside the box however the midfielder’s header whisked past the Kenkre post as the score remained 1-1. Two minutes later at the other end, Kenkre completed a brilliant turnaround when Pravito found Aravindraj in space on the wings whose low crosses beat the Kerala defense to find Ranjeet Pandre, whose delectable shot found the net to make it 2-1 for Kenkre.

In the dying stages of the game, Kerala put men forward in search of the equalizer, however Lester and co.’s controlled midfield coupled with Kenkre’s profligacy in the attacking third meant the game ended at 2-1 scoreline as the Mumbai side came away with 3 crucial points against a much-fancied opponent.

FT: Kerala United FC (Bujair V 48’) 1 – 2 Kenkre FC (Lester Fernandes 66’(P), Ranjeet Pandre 73’)

October 5, 2021
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