Photo Credit: ISL Media Twitter (https://twitter.com/IndSuperLeague/status/1333079173724729346/photo/1)
ISL 2020-21 Chennaiyin FC vs Kerela Blasters FC: Kerala survive a scare to earn a point
Kerala Blasters had conceded a penalty in the second half that was saved by the keeper.
Chennaiyin FC played out a goalless draw against Kerala Blasters on Sunday night at the GMC Bambolim Athletic Stadium in Goa. Chennaiyin FC came closest to the win when they earned a penalty in the second half but the chance was saved by keeper Albino Gomes.
Chennaiyin had the first chance of the night when Rafael Crivellaro had a chance at the goal, thanks to Albino Gomes losing possession, but defender Bakary Kone was quick to clear the mess.
Nongdamba Naorem could have earned the lead for Kerala in the 22nd minute when he latched onto a floating cross from Denechandra Meitei but his shot was wide.
Chennaiyin striker Jakub Sylvestr headed the ball into the back of the net in the 26th minute off a Crivellaro cross but he was adjudged offside. Meanwhile, Vishal Kaith had to do some work in the 29th minute when Rohit Kumar had a long-range effort on target.
Kerala Blasters were dominating for the rest of the half, but couldn't find a shot into the back of the net. Facundo Pereyra crossed a ball from the left to Seityasen Singh whose shot, however, was blocked by the defense, leaving the scoreline goalless at the break.
The proceedings resumed after the break and was quiet until the 61st minute when Crivellaro's corner fell back to the Brazilian who curled it but only to see it go wide.
Tajikistan international Fatkhullo Fatkhuloev took a set-piece resulting from a foul on Reagan Singh in the 67th minute which was saved by custodian Gomes.
The best chance of the game was squandered by Chennaiyin when a penalty from a foul on Crivellaro by Sergio Cidoncha of Kerala was saved by Albino Gomes as Jakub Sylvestr's strike was well guessed by the keeper.
None of the two sides could break the deadlock till the end of the match.
Kerala Blasters head coach Kibu Vicuna is hopeful that the improvement will bring them the winning momentum soon, "We didn't start the match that well but by the middle of the first half we started to play better. We had more of the ball inside the opponents’ half. In the second half, it was very even. Last 15-20 minutes, we were tired because we played on Thursday as well. My feeling is that if we continue to play like this then we can get the three points,” said Vicuna in the post-match press conference.
Kerala forward Gary Hooper has failed to put an impact so far, but Kibu Vicuna thinks otherwise, "We expect Gary to score goals. He needs time to know the team. For sure Gary is going to have a good season,” Vicuna said.
Kerala had a number of chances but could materialize none, to which the coach said, 'It’s true that we had chances to score especially in set-pieces but tonight we couldn’t score. Hopefully, we are going to continue training and try to convert these chances.”
Chennaiyin FC head coach Csaba Laszlo felt that the lack of intent from his side was the reason for the draw, "We have some good and fast players who can use the spaces well. What we missed is that we don’t shoot more on the target. If we don’t shoot on the target, we can’t win the game. This is what we missed today.
“Unfortunately, we missed the penalty. If we had scored, we could have won the game. But this happens in football,” he said.
Deepak Tangri's performance in the midfield received a nod from the coach, "Deepak has really impressed me. He has not played many matches in the Hero ISL but he has impressed me in the middle of the park,” he said.