ISL 2020-21 HIGHLIGHTS, Kerala Blasters vs Hyderabad FC: Kerala Blasters beat Hyderabad FC 2-0 to get their first win of the season in the Indian Super League (ISL) 2020-21 Match No.40 at the GMC Stadium in Bambolim, Goa on Sunday. Abdul Hakku and Jordan Murray were the goalscorers for Kerala, who gave their fans the New Year gift they wanted. Murray increased Kerala's advantage with an 88th minute strike. Subrata Paul made a big save to thwart Rahul KP's effort. Abdul Hakku headed in Facundo Pereyra's corner in the 29th minute to put Kerala 1-0 up. Hyderabad FC got us underway. Abdul Hakku got his first start for Kerala Blasters as Kibu Vicuna made 5 changes. For Hyderabad FC, Liston Colaco was back in the starting XI and Fran Sandaza made it to the squad. Kerala Blasters had drawn three games and lost three before this win. Hyderabad FC, on the other hand, lost for the first time this season in their previous game against Mumbai City FC and lost their second straight game. Follow all the live updates of Kerala Blasters vs Hyderabad FC in News18 Sports' blog.
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Conceding goals has been an issue plaguing Kerala Blasters since the start of the season. Hyderabad will be aiming to expose Kerala's vulnerable defense, which has the second-worst defensive record this season. Defensively, Manuel Marquez's side has also been struggling as of late. Five of the six goals they conceded this season have come in the last three games. However, for that to mean anything, Kerala will have to uplift their attack as well. They have attempted just 54 shots in the season so far - the lowest by a team - and have also created the least chances per 90 minutes.
Kerala coach Kibu Vicuna expects his side to make improvements but knows they won't have it easy against Hyderabad. "Every game is difficult," said Vicuna. "Hyderabad had positives in the last match (against Mumbai). They didn't play bad but they lost. So yes, we are expecting a tough challenge but we are training well. We are improving and taking steps forward. I have confidence we are going to play a good match."
Hyderabad FC have been reliant on goals on Aridane Santana but Kerala have recorded six unique goal-scorers so far and Marquez said this game was not to be taken lightly. "They (Kerala) have very good players and maybe they deserve more points than they have. They have great players in all positions from the goalkeeper until the forwards and the coach (Vicuna) won the I-League last season. For sure, it will be an equal game. Let's see what happens."