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ISL: Atletico de Kolkata hold Kerala Blasters to enter semis

Posted November 30th, 2016, 12:16 PM IST

ISL: Atletico de Kolkata hold Kerala Blasters to enter semis

New Delhi: Atletico de Kolkata on Tuesday became the third team after Mumbai City FC and Delhi Dynamos to enter the semi-finals of the Hero Indian Super League, following a 1-1 draw against Kerala Blasters in Kolkata on Tuesday.

C.K. Vineeth gave Kerala Blasters an eighth minute lead but Kolkata restored parity in the 18th minute through Stephen Pearson.

Kolkata now have 19 points and have qualified along with Delhi Dynamos (20 points from 12 matches), thanks to their superior head-to-head record against both Kerala Blasters and NorthEast United FC, leaving Kerala and NorthEast United FC to battle for the final play-off spot.

Kerala and NorthEast come face-to-face against in the league’s concluding league clash on December 4 with Kerala needing only a draw to advance.
On the day, Kerala needed a win to get closer to the play-offs and they got a perfect start in the eighth minute when their star man, Vineeth, provided them with a lucky lead.

A cross from the left by Mehtab Hossain should have been collected cleanly by Kolkata goalkeeper Debjit Majumder but the goalkeeper made a mess of the collection, dropping the ball. Cedric Hengbart turned it away from the group for Vineeth to head it inside an empty goal.

The goal upset Kolkata’s rhythm but they regained composure soon, holding on to the ball for long spells and threatening their opponents with swift play. Ten minutes later, Kolkata drew level through Pearson in one of the more impressive team goals scored in the ISL. The teams battled it out in the second half but could not get the scoreboard moving.

Northeast face Delhi in crucial clash
NorthEast United take on red-hot Delhi Dynamos in a do-or-die clash in Guwahati on Wednesday.

NorthEast are now at fifth spot with 15 points from 12 matches and need to take full three points against Delhi. A loss will see them out of the race for play-offs.
For Delhi, who are high on confidence after their 5-1 thrashing of FC Goa in their last match, a win will seal their place for the semi-finals with a match left.