ISL: Top five wins of Kerala Blasters under Ivan Vukomanovic

Ivan Vukomanovic will go down as one of the most pivotal managers in Kerala Blasters’ history.

Indian Super League team, Kerala Blasters have announced the departure of head coach Ivan Vukomanovic. The Serbian manager's three-season-long run in the dugout for the Yellow Army has finally ended after the Yennum Yellow quest for silverware in the ISL ended despite their unbelievable start to the season.

Vukomanovic was appointed as head coach of Kerala Blasters ahead of the 2021-22 season, and he was one of the top managers at the Kerala-based team, whose tactical smarts elevated the teams performances and brought them to success. Under his leadership, the club qualified for the ISL playoffs three years in a row, including a runner-up finish in his first season. In 2022, the club also smashed new records for points and goals in a single season.

Even in his final season, before bidding adieu, the manager left fans with some cherished memories to treasure leaving behind a legacy worth remembering. Here we delve into Kerala Blasters’ top five wins under Ivan Vukomanovic’s stewardship.

5. Kerala Blasters vs Odisha FC (ISL 2021-22 season)

After being outclassed in a 4-2 defeat in the season opener to ATK Mohun Bagan and two consecutive draws against NorthEast United and Bengaluru FC, the Blasters were up against Odisha FC on a chilly December evening at the Jawaharlal Nehru International Stadium in Kochi.

They went on to produce a 2-1 victory at home as Alvaro Vazquez and Prasanth K put themselves on the scoresheet. Not only was this Kerala Blasters’ first win under Ivan Vukomanovic, but this victory also brought an end to  their 11-month win-drought in the Indian Super League.

4. Kerala Blasters vs Hyderabad FC (ISL 2021-22 season)

Kerala Blasters continued to write a fairytale in the 2021-22 season under their Serbian tactician, securing back-to-back victories to seal a top-four. Their winning streak included victories over the then-defending champions, Mumbai City FC, and arch-rivals Chennaiyin FC.

As their unbeaten run continued to make waves in Indian football, they eventually made it to the top of the table for the first time in eight years after registering a 1-0 victory against Hyderabad FC. The only goal of the match was scored by their Spanish linchpin Alvaro Vazquez in the 42nd minute, with full-back Jessel Carneiro putting in a good shift that night.

3. Kerala Blasters vs FC Goa (ISL 2022-23 season)

Ivan Vukomanovic became the first manager in Kerala Blasters’ history to receive such a big contract extension of three years  from 2022 to 2025. The Yennum Yellow began their season on a good note with a victory against the Gold and Yellow of East Bengal though it was subsequently followed up by a few consecutive defeats. They made a crucial comeback with a 3-0 victory against the Highlanders and got their campaign back on track. The Tuskers then took on the Gaurs, ending their six-year unbeaten clean sweep in the head-to-head battle.

The match which saw history being unfolded, ended with a 3-1 scoreline for Kerala Blasters. The target man, Adrian Luna, Dimitrios Diamantakos, and Ivan Kaliuzhnyi found their names on the scoresheet, while FC Goa’s solitary goal was scored by their Moroccan winger, Noah Sadaoui.

2. Kerala Blasters vs Chennaiyin FC (ISL 2022-23 season)

After serving as Kerala Blasters’ manager in his 42nd game, which was a 1-0 defeat at the hands of East Bengal, Ivan Vukomanovic broke David James’ record for serving as the manager of the club in the maximum number of games. Next up, it was their arch-rivals in the south, Chennaiyin FC.

They won the game 2-1 with Adrian Luna and Rahul KP getting onto the score sheet for the side; El Khayati was the only one to be able to put up his name on the scoresheet for the visitors. With this win, they registered their 10th victory in a single season, for the first time in their history. Later on, Ivan Vukomanovic also went on to become the first  coach in the club’s history to achieve the feat of making it to consecutive ISL playoffs.

1. Kerala Blasters vs Mohun Bagan (ISL 2023-24 season)

Towards the end of the first half of the campaign Kerala Blasters registered a 1-0 victory against Mohun Bagan with an early goal from Dimitri Diamantakos to  seal the deal for the Yellow Army. With this victory, Ivan Vukomanovic  added another record to his name as e became the first manager in Kerala Blasters’ history to defeat all of their ISL opponents. For the first time in the club’s history, Vukomanovic’s side also managed to keep a clean-sheet in three consecutive games.

Notable Mention: Kerala Blasters vs FC Goa (ISL 2023-24 season)

On April 25, 2024, Kerala Blasters managed to get their act together and engineered a late comeback by hammering four goals in the second half to defeat FC Goa by 4-2 to secure their first win after three games in the Indian Super League (ISL) 2023-24 campaign.

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