Kerala Blasters FC and Bengaluru FC in action (Photo:ISL| Twitter)
Kochi: Kerala Blasters FC defeated defending champions Bengaluru FC for the first time in the history of Indian Super League (ISL) at the Jawaharlal Nehru stadium here on Saturday.
Deshorn Brown gave the visitors the lead in the 16th minute but Bartholomew Ogbeche equalised in the first half added time. The Kerala Blasters captain scored the winner in the 70th minute from a penalty. This was only Kerala’s 4th victory in the season and the third at home.
The result moved Kerala Blasters, who have 18 points from 17 games one spot up to 7th in the ISL table. Meanwhile, Bengaluru, who are already qualified, remained 3rd with 29 points from 17 games.
Eelco Schattorie's side started better pressing the defending champions in the other half and running the game from deep. However, it was the visitors who took the lead completely against the run of play in the 16th minute.
Suresh Wangjam won the ball on the right in his own half. He then put in a long through ball for Deshorn Brown over the top of the Kerala defence. Blasters keeper Bilal Husain Khan rushed out but Brown’s first touch took the ball around the keeper and the forward passed the ball into the back of the net on the slide.
Carles Cuadrat and co were more than happy then to sit back and hit Kerala on the counter. However, Kerala scored the equaliser through their captain Bartholomew Ogbeche in added time.
Albert Serran committed a foul on Bartholomew Ogbeche just outside the box and conceded a free kick in a dangerous position. Three men converged to take it but Gianni Zuiverloon laid it off for Ogbeche to blast a fierce low shot. The venomous strike went under Gurpreet Singh Sandhu’s body and the keeper was beaten for power.
The goal made Bartholomew Ogbeche the top scorer for Kerala Blasters FC in ISL history.
The match resumed and Bengaluru looked like they were trying to take the initiative. Carles Cuadrat replaced Udanta Singh, who wasted a number of good chances with Ashique Kuruniyan in the 50th minute.
Six minutes later, Bengaluru made their second change taking off goal scorer Deshorn Brown with Semboi Haokip. The intent was clear.
Kerala created several good chances as both Gianni Zuiverloon and Halicharan Narzary tested Gurpreet Singh Sandhu.
Kerala Blasters were awarded a penalty in the 70th minute as Albert Serran fouled Messi Bouli.
A long ball was hit into the box for Messi Bouli who looked to chest it down while holding off Albert Serran. The Bengaluru defender was pulling on the Kerala man’s shirt and he went down inside the box. The referee blew the whistle and awarded a penalty for the home side.
Bartholomew Ogbeche stepped up to take the penalty and made no mistake. The Nigerian also maintained his 100 percent record from the penalty spot.
Bengaluru threw everything at the Kerala Blasters Backline in the dying minutes to grab a late equaliser but Blasters held on for their first win against the defending champions.