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Kerala Blasters FC got off to a rollicking start, recording a convincing 3-1 win over NorthEast United FC in the Indian Super League (ISL) season 2 match in Kochi on Tuesday. After a goal-less first half, Kerala Blasters, with their superstar co-owner Sachin Tendulkar cheering them from the stands, opened the scoring in the 49th minute through Josu. The lead was doubled by the former India striker Mohammad Rafi headed one in the 68th minute. Sanchez Watt consolidated the hosts' position with another goal in the 72nd minute.
Josu, a Barcelona youth product, unleashed a powerful left-footer to send the ball to the top corner of the net after CK Vineeth's attempted overhead kick fell on his way. Following a long throw-in into the box by Rahul Bheke, Carvalho's flick was headed in by Rafi at the far post. Sanchez Watt, who is a product of the Arsenal youth academy, took the ball beautifully after being fed by Bywater and Rafi. Watt was onside and with no defender marking him, it was easy for him to shoot the ball between goalkeeper Rehenesh's feet.
The introduction of Sanchez Watt in the place of Chris Dagnall in the second half has changed the complexion of the game and it was Josue Currais Prieto who broke the deadlock three minutes after the break.
Kerala Blasters Team: Ramandeep Singh, Peter Ramage, Carlos Marchena (Marquee), Cavin Lobo, João Coimbra, Chris Dagnall, Sanchez Watt, Ishfaq Ahmed, Shankar Sampingiraj, C.K. Vineeth, Mehtab Hossain, Sandesh Jhingan, Gurwinder Singh, Manandeep Singh, Mohammed Rafi, Bruno Perone, Saumik Dey, Marcus Williams, Stephen Bywater, Peter Carvalho, Pulga, Josue, Shilton Paul, Rahul Bheke, Sandip Nandy.
NorthEast United FC Team: Gennaro Bracigliano, Aiborlang Khongjee, Marlangki Suting, Zohmingliana Ralte, Cédric Hengbart, Yumnam Raju, Sanju Pradhan, Bruno, Holicharan Narzary, Silas, Seityasen Singh, Reagan Singh, Rehenesh TP, Boithang Haokip, Miguel Garcia, Alen Deory, Kondwani Mtonga, Nicolás Vélez, Simão Sabrosa, Robin Gurung, Siam Hanghal, Francis Dadzie, Boubacar Sanogo, Lalthuammawia Ralte, Diomansy Kamara.