INDIAN FOOTBALL

Bengaluru FC 1-1 Kerala Blasters FC: A wistful day for A. Kuruniyan

Kicking off Matchday 3 of the Indian Super League, Bengaluru FC shared the points with Kerala Blasters FC as late drama ensued

Kicking off Matchday 3 of the Indian Super League (ISL), Bengaluru FC shared the points with Kerala Blasters FC as late drama ensued. The tie, played at the Athletic Stadium, Goa, saw Ashique Kuruniyan score twice, one for each side late on.

Bengaluru FC came into the game wanting to redeem themselves. They started the season thrashing NorthEast United 4-2. However, in their second game, they fell to a composed Odisha FC 1-3 who put up a dominant display.

Meanwhile, Kerala Blasters were looking for their first win. They began ISL 2021-22 disappointingly, losing 2-4 to a sturdy ATK Mohun Bagan. Following up, they faced the Highlanders and had to settle for a 0-0 draw.

BENGALURU FC 1-1 KERALA BLASTERS FC : THE GAME

Reeling from a 3-1 defeat to Odisha FC, Marco Pezzauioli switched up things in midfield. He chose to bring in Iman Basafa while Cleiton Silva was back to lead the charge. The Blasters made a few changes as well. Puitea and Jeakson Singh operated in a double-pivot with Alvaro Vazquez replacing Jorge Pereyra Diaz.

Bengaluru dominated possession early on but Kerala seemed hardly troubled. Vincy Barretto and Ashique were neck-in-neck in an intense scuffle on the flanks. BFC tried to expand play as Sunil Chhetri slipped towards the inside of the left channel. The plan was Chhetri to attempt to pick up Udanta Singh and Ashique on the wings.

The game progressed fairly slow, with chances being rare for either side. Ashique thwarted the Blasters’ best chance in the first period. Sahal Abdul Samad’s quick footwork dazzled defenders to create some space for a pass into the area.

Late drama in the tie sees Kerala Blasters FC grab their first point of the season after a disheartening start to the new season
Late drama in the tie sees Kerala Blasters FC grab their first point of the season after a disheartening start to the new season

Both sides were lumbering in their attempts, neither able to really test the opposing keeper too much. The clubs failed to seize any momentum following the cooling break and went into half-time at 0-0.

After the break, Bengaluru managed to come up with a first real chance. Cleiton and Udanta were at it to tease the Blasters net. The Brazilian fired wide initially and then lobbed it high. Albino Gomes was present to get a hand to it. Next up, Udanta blazed wide after chasing a delicious through pass from Cleiton.

Captain Sunil Chhetri was taken off around 60 minutes in, still awaiting his first ISL goal.

Yet again, BFC launched a threatening counter following a Kerala Blasters corner (76′). The Blues bolted out with Prince Ibara and Udanta but a cross from the latter was dealt with at the last second.

83 minutes, Albino Gomes produced an impressive save from Silva. The Brazilian got to a long throw-in that the Blasters were unable to take care of.

GOAL OF THE GAME

With just 4 minutes between them, Ashique Kuruniyan netted twice. His goals at both ends led to Bengaluru FC and Kerala Blasters FC each taking a point in a 1-1 stalemate. Kuruniyan put his team ahead but shortly after slotted into his own net to draw the Blasters level.

The defining moments took place in the final 10 minutes. Ashique picked up the the ball on the area’s edge and cut inside against center-half Khabra. He swung in a shot on the angle and a panicky spill from Albino Gomes witnessed the ball roll into the net. Through this, the Blues took an unlikely lead.

Gomes was left kicking himself, unaware that the match was not over yet. Ashique looked stunned himself but soon realised what had happened and ran to celebrate with his teammates.

Just 4 minutes later, things took a very odd turn. On the left flank, Leskovic dinked in cross at goal. Ashique, rather than clearing, powered it into his own net.

The Blues have registered 4 points from 3 matches while Kerala remain without a win, with 2 points from 3. Next up, Bengaluru FC are set to face champions Mumbai City FC. Meanwhile, Kerala Blasters will take on Odisha FC the next day.

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