Guwahati: Defender Wes Brown scored the solitary goal as Kerala Blasters kept their play-off hopes alive in the Indian Super League by defeating Northeast United 1-0 at the Indira Gandhi Athletic Stadium.
Brown produced his maiden ISL goal in the 28th minute to put Kerala ahead even as the home favourites couldn't find an equaliser despite making some creditable efforts in the field. The former Manchester United headed the ball into the back of the net from Jackichand Singh's corner.
After this win, Kerela held on to the fifth spot with 24 points from 16 matches, one adrift of Jamshedpur FC, who are the fifth position with 25 points. Northeast United were also static at the ninth place after suffering their 11th loss. Northeast will face Mumbai City FC on February 22, while Kerala takes on Chennaiyin FC on February 23.
In the 10th minute, Northeast had an early chance when Danilo Lopes failed to get pass custodian Paul Rachubka after being fed by Maic Sema. Eight minutes later, the visitors had a good chance to draw first blood but India international CK Vineeth failed to slot the ball home.
Kerala grabbed the lead in the 28th minute when they scored from set play. Jackichand stood up for the corner and his delivery was headed into the net by Wes Brown in what was his debut goal in the tournament. In the dying minutes of the first half, Danilo Lopes conjured up hopes of brining up the equaliser when he charged into the 18-yard-box but his shot from the left was staved off by Rachubka.
In the second half, John Mosquera, who replaced Danilo Lopes, missed another chance when his header fell into the hands of Rachubka. NorthEast came close to find the equalizer in the 72nd minute when Lalrindika Ralte released a bullet strike from the edge of the Kerala box but it bounced off the crossbar. His second effort from the rebound too was collected by Rachubka.