Kerala Blasters FC survived a tremendous onslaught from hosts Chennaiyin FC to win 4-3 on aggregate in the first semi-final play-off to enter the final of the inaugural Indian Super League (ISL) football competition at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium on Tuesday.
Chennaiyin won the second leg match Tuesday 3-1 after extra time, but that wasn't enough to overturn a 0-3 deficit from the away leg at Kochi.Both teams ended the match with 10 men after Kerala's James McAllister and Chennai's Marco Materazzi were shown the red card.
Mid-fielder Stephen Pearson scored the tie-clinching goal in the 117th minute of the contest. Chennaiyin, earlier, had produced a fascinating fightback to square the contest 3-3 in regulation time.
The home team was quicker off the block and came close on several occasions early on in the game.
Kerala, feeling the pressure, resorted to time-wasting tactics to halt the flow of the game, a ploy which earned defender Jamie McAllister a yellow card.
Chennaiyin enjoyed most of the possession and almost went ahead when striker Jeje Lalpekhlua took a first-time shot but veteran Indian goalkeeper Sandip Nandy was equal to the task.