Photo Credit: ISL Media Twitter
ISL 2020-21 Bengaluru FC vs Kerala Blasters FC: Bengaluru defeat Kerala in a six-goal thriller.
Goals were plenty in the match between two fierce rivals. Bengaluru FC defeated Kerala Blasters by 4-2 on Sunday night at the Fatorda Stadium in Goa.
Rahul KP scored the opener for Kerala Blasters but Cleiton Silva restored the parity for the hosts in the first half which was followed by goals from Erik Paartalu and Dimas Delgado in quick succession to get a two-goal lead in the second half. Jordan Murray reduced the deficit for the visitors but Sunil Chhetri scored to put up the two-goal cushion again.
Kerala Blasters looked dangerous on counter-attack early in the match. In the 15th minute, Jordan Murray forced custodian Gurpreet Singh Sandhu into a save following a quick counter-attack. Two minutes later, a Bengaluru FC set piece was well intercepted by Kerala Defence which turned into a dangerous counter attack and Rahul KP made a sublime finish to earn Blasters the lead.
But the lead only lasted twelve minutes for the visitors who saw Bengaluru restoring parity through Cleiton Silva who made most of a poor clearance from Lalruatthara.
The scoreline remained 1-1 at the break. However, it was in the second half that fortunes changed for Bengaluru, as Bakary Kone conceded a penalty, but Sunil Chhetri's attempted panenka was well read by Albino Gomes who made a comfortable save to deny the hosts the lead.
But it was not long after that they finally got the lead, as a Kristian Opseth attempt at goal off an Ashique Kuruniyan cross deflected off Erik Paartalu into the back of the net.
They further went on to extend the lead when Dimas Delgado finished a cross first time from Cleiton Silva who pressed inside the box to win the ball.
Jordan Murray then reduced the deficit soon after when his header from a set piece went into the back of the net, but was only a short lived respite, as Sunil Chhetri made up for the penalty he missed earlier by scoring from a header off a cross from Harmanjot Khabra in the 65th minute as the scoreline remained 4-2 at the blow of full time whistle.
Bengaluru FC head coach Carles Cuadrat hailed the team's efforts in the game, "We made quite a few good chances to score. You are not happy when you concede the way we did but I am happy because the boys kept trying and we made many chances in attack. Once 1-1, we were back in the game. Even when we missed the penalty, the team kept working to try to get the three points so I am happy with the attitude of the players,” Cuadrat said at the post-match press conference.
On not being able to keep a clean sheet for the last few games, he said, "We want to get the three points so it’s not about whether we have a clean sheet or not. We have new players who have to get used to the system that we are playing so it’s normal but I think that the progress has been very good,” he said.
He also heaped praise on his skipper Sunil Chhetri, who missed a penalty before scoring a beautiful header to make it 4-2 for the side, “Sunil is very proud of himself. He took the penalty miss as a way to motivate himself. That’s a competitive reaction so that is good,” he said.
Kerala Blasters head coach Kibu Vicuna thinks that the team needs to improve the defence, "It's true that we conceded too many goals today. It’s not possible to concede four goals if we want to succeed in the match. We need to show up more defensively,” he said after the game.
“We started well, created counter-attacks and scored two goals. It is very difficult to score two goals against Bengaluru FC. They are a very solid team. We are upset and disappointed and we have a lot more to do.
“It is frustrating because when we started the match, we played well. We have to improve because we are conceding too many. We conceded two goals which in my opinion were gifts.”