Kerala Blasters booked a place in the finals of the Indian Super League 2016 after they managed to defeat Delhi Dynamos 3-0 on penalties at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium. Both the teams made just one change to their line up from the first leg, which saw Lalchawnkima come in for Konsham Singh for Delhi and Kervens Belfort, who scored the winning goal for Kerala in the first leg, sat out as Didier Kadio came into the starting 11.
Delhi Dynamos top scorer Marcelinho gave the hosts the lead in the 20th minute, but Kerala were quick to respond as Duckens Nazon managed to equalize three minutes later. Despite Delhi getting a red card in the 28th minute which saw Milan Singh sent off, they still managed to take the lead just before half time as Ruben Rocha put the ball into the net from a Marcos Tebar free kick.
Delhi Dynamos managed to hang on to their 2-1 lead until extra time, but faltered in the penalty shootout. The Delhi Dynamos were unable to convert any of their penalties as marquee man Florent Malouda, Bruno Pelissari and Memo all missed for the hosts. For Kerala, Josu Currais, Kervens Belfort and Mohammed Rafique managed to find the netting with only Antonio German missing the target.
Despite Delhi's exit from the competition, their coach Gianluca Zambrotta was really proud of his players.
"I think it was a very good season for Delhi Dynamos and I am very satisfied with the way the players played throughout the season and we scored the maximum number of goals and that was important and the first thing I told the players after we lost today, I told them thank you for a terrific season and I am very proud of them" the ISL official website quoted Zambrotta as saying.
Kerala Blasters coach Steve Coppell said his team deserved to be in the finals because of the hard work that they put in over the two legs.
"I thought our best shot at winning the game was in normal time and that left us a bit vulnerable at the back, and in extra time there wasn't really much going on and then it was down to the penalties. Did we deserve to win? I think over the two games we did, it was very close and respect to Delhi. We are grateful and happy to be in the final and we have got to do all the protocols to recover and get set for the final and the team was in the final in the first year and [left] an unfinished business and we hope we can put a good show against Kolkata" Coppell was quoted as saying.
Kerala Blasters will now face Atletico de Kolkata in the finals and Kerala will be looking for revenge this time after they lost to Kolkata in the finals of the first edition of the Indian Super League. Kerala Blasters will have a huge advantage going into the finals as the game will be played in their home stadium on Sunday, December 18.