Full-time report: Kerala
Blasters FC coach David James and his men must be feeling hard done by after they fell to a 1-2 defeat at the hands of rivals Bengaluru
FC in front of their home fans at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in Kochi. Bengaluru
FC scored their first goal from what should have been an offside while the second was an own-goal.
FC drew the first blood in the 17th minute after Kerala
dominated the first 10 minutes. Sunil Chhetri
was released with an incisive pass by Miku, although the Bengaluru FC captain was arguably offside. Chhetri made the run and got behind Jhingan, darting towards the goal to finally slide the ball into the back of the net.
did manage to pull one goal back in the 30th minute, from a penalty. Samad wriggled his way inside the box where he was clipped by Nishu Kumar from behind. The referee immediately pointed to the spot.
Stojanovic, despite missing his last two penalties, stepped up to take the shot and absolutely blasted it with the ball hitting the underside of the bar and into the back of the net to make it 1-1.
The game swung in favour of both teams in phases. Kerala started it brightly but Bengaluru grew into the game. The scoreline at half-time was thus a fine indicator of how the first half went.
In the second half, which started after a 25-minute delay due to a power failure at the stadium, Bengaluru started on the front foot and created multiple chances.
In the 56th minute, Bengaluru went close to taking the lead when Sandhu hoofed the ball all the way to the Kerala box from where Miku
spotted and pulled the ball back for Udanta whose strike was saved by a diving Naveen Kumar.
Four minutes later, A fantastic ball by Dimas carved open the Kerala defence while Chhetri made the run to get at the end of the pass. He did receive the ball near the byline on the left but his heavy first-touch poked the ball out for a goal-kick.
Kerala returned the favour by missing a glorious chance in the 77th minute when Prasanth slid a great pass that set Vineeth free with Narzari by his side and the goalkeeper at his mercy. Vineeth though ignored Narzari and took the shot himself, sending his effort across the face of the goal and out beyond the far post.
The miss was to hurt Kerala when Bengaluru got their second goal in the 80th minute, albit with a bit of luck. Miku, inside the box, cut the ball back for onrushing Xisco whose shot was parried away by the goalkeeper but the ball ricocheted to Krcmarevic who unwittingly put the ball inside his own net.
The win sends Bengaluru FC to the top of the table with 13 points from five games while Kerala are in the sixth spot with seven points from five games.