Kerala Blasters FC held to goalless draw
Kerala Blasters FC and Delhi Dynamos FC played out an engrossing 0-0 draw at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in Kochi today. Both teams attacked with purpose, but the defences held firm as the teams split points.
The match got off to a lively start with both teams getting immediately into attack mode. Delhi settled into their composed passing game, while Kerala drove forward with pace. The hosts were nearly gifted a goal when the visitors gave away possession just outside their own box. Keeper Kristof Van Hout and defender Shouvik Ghosh however saved the day with the goalkeeper getting a hand on Stephen Pearson’s cutback and Ghosh nipping in to clear.
The lanky Belgian custodian rescued his team again, making a save at full stretch after Andrew Barisic’s cross popped up off defender Adil Khan, with Iain Hume’s follow-up header hitting the outside of the post.
Kerala were dominant by this point, and even had the ball in the net through Barisic, but it was ruled out for an offside in the build-up. Delhi weathered the storm, however, and began to see more of the ball. They soon had a chance of their own, with Mads Junker firing a point-blank header directly at Kerala keeper David James. The game became more end-to-end, but the half ended scoreless.
The second half started with the teams trading possession. Delhi came closest to scoring, with birthday boy Alessandro Del Piero’s flicked header sending Robert Lalthamuana through on goal, but while his chip beat keeper James, it was well wide of the post. Kerala coach Trevor Morgan made his intentions clear when he brought on striker Milagres Gonsalves on to join Barisic and Hume in a three-pronged attack. But there were still no clear chances for either side, although Delhi went close through Bruno Arias.
Kerala and Delhi continued to probe each other in search of an opening goal, and there were promising moments at either end. The visitors nearly snatched the winner when substitute Pavel Eliáš had a free header from a corner, but his shot was wide. It was to be the last action of a closely-fought match.
One point each means both Kerala and Delhi finished the day as they started it, in sixth and seventh place respectively in the league standings. Delhi, having ended a run of two straight losses, will look to get back to winning form when they play FC Goa at home on November 13. Kerala’s next assignment is a home match against Mumbai City FC on November 12.
Hero of the Match: Stephen Pearson (Kerala Blasters FC)
Swift Moment of the Match: David James (Kerala Blasters FC)
Amul Fittest Player of the Match: Sandesh Jhingan (Kerala Blasters FC)
ISL Emerging Player of the Match: Shouvik Ghosh (Delhi Dynamos FC)