WHERE TO WATCH
Kerala Blasters 1-2 Bengaluru FC
KICK-OFF: Nov 5, 7.30PM (IST) (GMT +5.30)
Channel: Star Sports HD1, Star Sports 1, Star Sports 3.
Streaming: Hotstar, Jio TV.
Highlights: Click Here
Venue: Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium, Kochi.
Kerala Blasters FC will rely on their home support to rally around the team as they take on a strong Bengaluru FC at Kochi today. Both teams are unbeaten this season, but the Blasters haven’t won a game since the opening day of the season (Sep. 29 against ATK).
In their last game against FC Pune City, they had as many as 29 shots on goal and 66% possession, but they could only manage a draw. A win today will give them enough confidence considering their squad looks good enough to secure a play-off position.
Their forward line of Stojanovic, Slovenian forward Poplatnik and CK Vineeth have all been among the goals this season. The Manipuri winger Doungel (Len) has been a creative outlet and has three assists to his credit. Midfielder Nikola Krcmarevic had a good game against Pune and Sahal Abdul Samad has impressed whenever he was given the opportunity.
The biggest challenge for Kerala Blasters will be to stop Bengaluru from scoring a goal. Sandesh Jhingan and Nemanja Lakić-Pešić will have their hands full when they take on the Bengaluru front three of Miku, Sunil Chhetri and Udanta Singh; not to mention their midfield who have also been among the goals this season.
Bengaluru FC defeated Kerala home and away last season, so they have the experience of playing in front of the Manjappada. They go into this game on the back of a win against ATK at the Salt Lake Stadium where they came back from a goal behind to win the game.
Sunil Chhetri and Miku both have 3 goals from 4 matches, and they look like they can score against any defence. The midfield of Aussie Erik Paartalu, Harmonjot Khabra and Dimas Delgado have looked solid with Dimas chipping in with a couple of assists.
The Bengaluru defence looked a little vulnerable against ATK although they’ve conceded only three goals (the lowest among all the teams). If Kerala can exploit that with their attacking talent, they could finally put an end to their run of four consecutive draws
For Bengaluru FC, a win will propel them to the top of the table and maybe that is all the motivation they need.
Carles Cuadrat, Head Coach, Bengaluru FC:
“We are in the middle of a good moment where things are working for us, but we will be up against a team that is playing at home and more importantly, wants to get back to winning ways. Like us, they are unbeaten in the competition and that is a good enough reason for us to understand that Monday will be tough.”
FULL-TIME: Kerala Blasters 1-2 Bengaluru FC
85′ – SUB (Kerala Blasters: M. Poplatnik [IN] S. Stojanovic [OUT])
84′ – SUB (Bengaluru: Rino Anto [IN] H. Khabra [OUT])
80′ – OWN GOAL! 1-2 (Nikola Krcmarevic, Kerala Blasters)
79′ – YELLOW CARD (Alberto Serran, Bengaluru)
79′ – YELLOW CARD (CK Vineeth, Kerala Blasters)
73′ – SUB (Bengaluru: Xisco Hernandez [IN] Juanan [OUT])
68′ – SUB (Kerala Blasters: H. Narzary [IN] S. Doungel [OUT])
66′ – SUB (Kerala Blasters: C. Pekuson [IN] Sahal Abdul Samad [OUT])
63′ – SUB (Bengaluru: Kean Lewis [IN] Udanta Singh [OUT])
49′ – YELLOW CARD (Lalruatthara, Kerala Blasters)
30′ – GOAL! 1-1 (S. Stojanovic, Penalty, Kerala Blasters)
17′ – GOAL! 1-0 (Sunil Chhetri, Assist: Miku, Bengaluru)
Bengaluru FC go top of the table after picking up three hard-fought points in an incident-filled pulsating contest in Kochi. The refereeing was again under the scanner with two goals resulting out of poor refereeing decisions.
Bengaluru went into the lead in the 17th minute when Miku sent a through ball to Chhetri past the last defender and Sunil slotted the ball past the keeper. The problem was Sunil Chhetri was clearly in an offside position when the ball was played into him. It was so glaringly obvious and almost impossible to understand how the linesman could’ve missed it.
Kerala won a penalty in the 30th minute when Sahal Abdul Samad went down in the box when he felt contact from Bengaluru defender Nishu Kumar. Stojanovic stepped up and smashed the ball against the underside of the bar and into the goal to make it 1-1. This decision was less atrocious than the offside goal since there was a little bit of contact – although not enough for a penalty.
The Indian players Sahal Abdul Samad, S. Doungel, Lalruatthara and Prashant K and Naveen Kumar impressed for Kerala Blasters while veteran forward CK Vineeth disappointed with poor finishing. Vineeth had a great chance in the 77th minute when he was one-on-one with the Bengaluru keeper, but he shot wide. The goal would’ve given them the lead and possibly the three points.
Soon after, Kerala Blasters were unlucky to concede when a shot on goal by Xisco was saved by the Kerala custodian Naveen Kumar, but the ball was straight in the path of Krcmarevic who couldn’t do a thing as the ball rebounded off him and into the goal.
For Bengaluru FC, Dimas Delgado put in an exceptional performance in midfield. Miku and Chhetri looked as threatening as ever and Rahul Bheke filled in at center-back when Xisco was subbed in for Juanan. Khabra took over at right back and in spite of these changes, Bengaluru FC held on for the win.
The South Derby was a supercharged encouter and had a few flashpoints mostly involving CK Vineeth.
Kerala Blasters will now face FC Goa on Nov. 11 at home. Bengaluru won’t be playing up until Nov. 22 when they face FC Goa after the international break.