The making of the southern derby: Late drama, long-range goals, missed penalties and more

There are many elements involved in creating a fierce rivalry between two sides, right from geographical proximity to intense matches and most importantly, passionate supporters. Over the years, fixtures between Bengaluru FC and Kerala Blasters FC in the Hero Indian Super League (ISL) have ticked most of those boxes, as the two sides from the southern part of the country have struck up a rivalry that has provided the Hero ISL with some great football, edge of the seat action and the odd altercation, too.

The two clubs may have changed personnel, coaching staff, or their management, but the intensity of this fixture has remained consistent since the 2017-18 season. With Ivan Vukomanovic being a staunch believer in playing an attacking brand of football, much like Marco Pezzaouili’s possession-based gameplay, one could expect a goal-fest when these two sides meet.

As they get set to lock horns on Sunday, we take a look back at some iconic moments that this southern derby has given us in the Hero ISL

2017-18: Match 86 - Miku scores in the 91st minute

The deadlock hadn’t been broken between the two sides at the end of regulation time, and the probability of a goal being scored seemed to reduce with every passing minute. But Miku Fedor Flores ensured that the Blues walked away with all three points, as he capped off a brilliant move with a typical poacher’s finish into the bottom corner, in the 91st minute, which made a 25,000 strong Kanteerava crowd roar in celebration.

2018-19: Match 70 - Courage Pekuson’s 30-yard screamer

One of the finest goals this fixture has ever witnessed was scored by the right foot of Courage Pekuson of Kerala Blasters FC. Back in the fifth edition of the Hero ISL, the two sides squared off in an intense match which ended 2-2. The Ghanaian who started that game, had a telling impact, as he scored an absolute screamer from 30 yards out in the 40th minute, which caught everyone by surprise including the opposition goalkeeper and made the travelling Manjappada fans erupt in elation.

2019-20: Match 83 - Ogbeche becomes the highest-ever goalscorer in Kerala Blasters’ history

Kerala Blasters were awarded a free kick outside the box in first-half stoppage time, and a queue of players lined up to take it, including their star striker Bartholomew Ogbeche. Gianni Zuiverloon rolled the ball to the Nigerian who unleashed a thumping strike that beat the goalkeeper, restoring parity in the game, while also making him the highest scorer ever for Kerala Blasters in the Hero ISL, a distinction he still holds. He then scored again later as the Blasters won 2-1. 

2020-21: Match 27 - Albino Gomes denies Chhetri from the spot

Sunil Chhetri’s illustrious career bears very few moments he wouldn’t want to look back at, but his penalty attempt in Match 27 of the 2020-21 season is surely one of them. Tasked with putting his team in front, from 12-yards out in the 50th minute, the forward attempted an audacious Panenka, which didn’t fool Albino Gomes, who stood still in the center of the goal and collected the ball gratefully in his palms.

2020-21: Match 65 - Rahul KP’s injury-time winner

Bengaluru FC were at a crucial juncture in their Hero ISL campaign and were gunning for all three points against their southern rivals. It was 1-1 in stoppage time and the Blues were banking on a corner to get them the win, but the Blasters averted the threat and supplied the ball forward to Rahul KP, who beat his marker and calmly slotted it past the frame of Gurpreet Singh Sandhu to give his side the win on the night.

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