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ISL 2023-24: Kerala Blasters edge past Hyderabad FC as Drincic makes a happy return, scores winning goal

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Milos Drincic had missed the last three matches with a suspension and the Kerala Blasters centre-back made his return a memorable one, scoring the match-winner against Hyderabad FC in the ISL at the Nehru Stadium on Saturday.

It was a match Vukomanovic’s boys dominated and the victory carried them to the top of the 12-team table with 16 points while former champion Hyderabad continued to languish in the 11th spot with three points.

The goal move began with a corner and Japanese Daisuke Sakai, who had been very active on the right flank, and Adrian Luna had a hand in it and the latter sent a low cross into the box to Drincic which the Montenegro defender sent home with a neat shot from close.

ALSO READ | ISL 2023-24: Chennaiyin, East Bengal share spoils in match riddled with defensive errors

Drincic almost doubled the lead in the 50 th minute but his header, off a Luna corner kick, hit the right post. With Luna and Sakai coming up with some impressive play, the Blasters should have finished with at least three goals but Peprah and Drincic missed chances earlier.

Hyderabad, without a win this season, was desperate for the equaliser but the Blasters defence now stronger with many of its stars returning from injury and suspension, stood steady. Hyderabad defender Mohammed Rafi advanced through the right flank a few times and sent promising crosses into the box but centre-back Hormipam was alert and warded off danger while Drincic kept the rival forward Moya on a tight leash.

With this being the situation, Hyderabad forward Joseph Knowles attempted a longranger near the hour mark and narrowly missed the target while substitute Hmar’s attempt was tipped away smartly by goalkeeper Sachin Suresh in the injury time.

The result: Kerala Blasters 1 (Milos Drincic 41) bt Hyderabad FC 0.

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