When Kerala Blasters clash with Bengaluru FC its not a normal affair. When two of the most vociferous fan bases meet, emotions and passion are sure to let off the hook. And as the two unbeaten teams met at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium Cochin, it was an absolute treat of a contest. Blasters had a mixed season so far, their defensive instability has curbed their point tally with a solitary win followed by a series of draws. Whereas Bengaluru found form and stability early on and stood comfortably with three wins and a draw from their contest so far. Bengaluru came out as winners in the South Indian derby with a late own goal.
Both teams approached the match with a game plan, Blasters trying to break up Bengaluru’s passing game and attack on a counter whereas the visitors calmly building up a move and trying to hurt the home side. With their set-piece skill-set, there was always a chance whenever there was a dead ball situation.
Blasters went all attack in the first ten minutes of the match, getting behind the defenders in regular interval. But in the 17th minute, it was the visitors who opened the scoring, Miku released the Indian captain Chetri, who ran past the Blasters defenders and coolly finished into the net. It was not the first time Blasters were on the wrong side of a wrong referee decision. The Indian captain had drifted offside when the ball was played onto him.
Blasters tried to come back into the game with a string of good chances, but the needed final ball was missing. Prasanth Karuthadathkuni and Sahal Abdul turned out to be the chief instigators of everything positive from the Blasters. Half an hour into the game, Sahal Abdul was brought down in the penalty box and the referee pointing to the spot. The Serbian Slaviša Stojanović blasted the ball into the back of the net rattling the bar. Another questionable decision from the referee, but the men in yellow could feel redeemed.
The game grew physical as the half progressed with some cynical fouls by both the teams as the first half ended in a stalemate.
The second half proceedings were delayed due to the partial power failure in the stadium, twenty-five min delay surely did dampen the momentum of the game. And it took ten minutes for the first chance of the half, a deflected shot by Singh was pushed away by Naveen Kumar.
Chetri again tested Naveen Kumar with a curler in the 65th minute. The Kerala Blasters shot-stopper was equal to the task with a great save. Blasters continued to absorb the pressure and tried hitting on the counter. But the net was rippled again in the 80th minute by an own goal from Nikola Krčmarević. Naveen Kumar had done well for the first attempt but could only watch helplessly as the ball deflected off one his teammates into the empty net.
With ten minutes left on the clock, Blasters pushed all out to get a point to salvage a result. But it was not happening for the home side.
Blasters’ unbeaten run to the campaign was ended by Bengaluru FC in the South Indian derby. The home side had piled on the pressure but that wasn’t enough to get a result. Bengaluru FC leapfrogged into the first spot with a win away in Cochin.
What’s next for Bengaluru FC?
Bengaluru FC will face FC Goa after the international break, at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium (Fatorda Stadium) on Thursday, 22 November.