Blasters come from behind to seal first-ever win over Bengaluru

Eelco Schattorie’s Kerala Blasters FC came back from a goal down to win 2-1 against Bengaluru FC at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in Kochi on Saturday. The visitors took the lead from a Deshorn Brown strike in the 16th minute, with the Blasters hitting back through Bartholomew Ogbeche at the cusp of half-time. The 35-year-old was again on target, as he converted a second-half spot-kick to end the Blasters’ last Hero Indian Super League (Hero ISL) 2019-20 home fixture on a successful note.

  • Brown opened Bengaluru’s account in the 16th minute.
  • Ogbeche’s smashing free-kick brought the scores level in the first-half added time.
  • Ogbeche converted a penalty for the home side in the 72nd minute.

After a cagey initial few exchanges, the Blues got the first opportunity of the game, with Nishu Kumar playing a peach of a cross towards Udanta Singh in the 5th minute. The winger’s attempt, though, failed to match the cross. It, however, left the Blasters slightly bewildered as to how he was allowed so much space in the box.

10 minutes later, Bengaluru took advantage of the Blasters’ same defensive susceptibility to open the scoring. Midfielder Suresh Wangjam released Brown with a ball over Kerala’s defence, and the striker collected it calmly to slot it past Bilal Khan.

Kerala’s reply to going behind was substantial, with striker Messi Bouli taking two strong attempts within the next eight minutes. The Blues were more resolute after that, restricting the Blasters to just a couple of shots around the 40th-minute mark.

Bengaluru then had a golden opportunity to double their lead when Francisco Borges released Udanta with a delightful through ball in the 43rd minute. The India international couldn’t get a clear attempt though, and it came back to haunt his side in the added time of the first half.

Ogbeche was fouled at the edge of the Bengaluru box, resulting in the referee awarding the home side a free-kick. Stepping up and taking the responsibility for the same, the striker fired a powerful shot that proved to be too quick for Gurpreet Singh Sandhu in the Blues goal. It also proved to be the last action of an eventful first half, which ended 1-1.

Similar to large parts of the first half, the initial 10 minutes of the second 45 didn’t see much in terms of chances. Both sides cancelled each other, with the first notable attempt coming in the 55th minute. Ashique Kuruniyan made himself some space and hit a sensational drive, which was well blocked by Blasters man Vlatko Drobarov.

Three minutes later, the home side had a chance of their own as Sahal Abdul Samad unleashed an attempt towards the Blues goal. Nishu and Gurpreet, however, prevented the ball from going in. In the 68th minute, Gupreet was once again called into action, with Halicharan Narzary smashing a brilliant shot that was goal-bound. The India international, though, adjusted well and palmed the ball over.

There wasn’t much that he could do four minutes later, with the referee awarding the home side a penalty after adjudging Messi was fouled by Blues defender Albert Serran. Ogbeche stepped up to take the spot-kick and converted with immense ease to hand his side the lead.

Bengaluru reacted with a few quick substitutions and tried hard to break the increasingly resolute Kerala defence. The home side, however, weren’t keen to throw away their lead and defended well till the end to win all three points.

Hero of the Match – Bartholomew Ogbeche

A livewire throughout the 90 minutes, the 35-year-old scored Kerala’s both goals in the encounter. His pace, elegance and trickery were hard for the Blues to deal with, as he attempted five shots and suffered three fouls during the encounter. He also went on to become Kerala’s all-time top scorer.

AWARDS

Club Award – Kerala Blasters FC

Maruti Suzuki Limitless Player of the Match – Messi Bouli

DHL Winning Pass of the Match – Suresh Wangjam

ISL Emerging Player of the Match – Suresh Wangjam

Hero of the Match – Bartholomew Ogbeche

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