Manjeri: Bengaluru FC qualified for the semi-final of the Super Cup with a 1-1 draw against Kerala Blasters FC after RoundGlass Punjab beat Sreenidi Deccan 1-0 in the other Group A match on Sunday.
Roy Krishna (23') gave Bengaluru FC the lead in the game in the first half but Kerala Blasters FC restored parity through Dimitri Diamantakos (77') to set up a grand-stand finish. Eventually, the Blues held on for a point which was enough to take them through.
The clash of the two Indian Super League (ISL) giants started on a bright note with both teams playing with a good tempo.
With nothing to choose between the two sides in the opening exchanges, Bengaluru FC midfielder Javi Hernandez provided the spark after he made a sparkling run at the heart of the Kerala Blasters FC defence to set up Krishna who put the ball in the back of the net after two attempts.
The Blues boosted by the goal took control of proceedings and pushed Kerala Blasters FC on the back foot. The Blues had a great chance to double their lead just before the half-time whistle when Udanta Singh did well to find Roshan Naorem in space inside the Kerala Blasters FC box but the full-back missed his kick as the chance went begging.
Kerala Blasters FC began the second half with more purpose and forced Bengaluru FC back in the second half. The Blues were content to protect what they had but the Yellow Army pushed hard for an equaliser.
Nishu Kumar forced Gurpreet Singh Sandhu into a save in the 66th minute as he drilled a shot goalwards with a lot of venom. However, Sandhu was equal to the task.
He was helpless eleven minutes later though when Diamantakos sent a looping header over the Indian custodian after the ball popped up in the air after Bengaluru FC's failed attempt at clearing a Kerala Blasters FC cross in the 77th minute.
Sandhu was forced into another save when Vibing Mohanan let one fly from distance ten minutes from time.
Bengaluru FC showed much-needed resolve under growing Kerala Blasters FC pressure to see the game through and book a semi-final ticket as RoundGlass Punjab saw off Sreenidi Deccan in the other Group A match.
Grayson's side will now face Jamshedpur FC in the first semi-final on Friday in Kozhikode. (ANI)