ISL 2022-23: Ivan Kaliuzhnyi's brace helps Kerala Blasters beat East Bengal in season opener

Ivan Kaliuzhnyi of Kerala Blasters FC celebrates after scoring against East Bengal. R. Parthibhan/Focus Sports/ ISL

Midfielder Ivan Kaliuzhnyi scored twice after Adrian Luna opened the account as Kerala Blasters started the new Indian Super League campaign in style, beating Stephen Constantine's East Bengal 3-1 in the opening match in Kochi on Friday.

With fans back in the stadium after a long gap of two years, they were treated to a few sublime goals in the second half. The first half was a cagey affair with both teams failing to break the deadlock.

The opening goal of the match came in the 72nd minute. Luna timed his run to perfection and latched onto an inch-perfect long ball from Harmanjot Singh Khabra to beat the goalkeeper.

Ivan doubled the lead in the 82nd minute with a stunning effort when he picked up the ball on the left side and made a darting run inside the box. He shrugged off a couple of challenges, and came up with a lovely finish to make it 2-0 in favour of his team.

However against the run of play, East Bengal reduced the deficit when Alex Lima scored a scorching left-footed pile driver from a loose ball in the 87th minute.

Two minutes later, Ivan added his second of the night with a brilliant 25-yard hit, much to the joy of the home fans and ensuring all three points for Ivan Vukomanovic's team.

On Saturday, Bengaluru FC will take on NorthEast United FC at the Sree Kanteerava Stadium in Bengaluru.

With inputs from PTI