Chennaiyin, Kerala share points after goalless draw in south Indian derby
The first south Indian derby of the 2016 Hero Indian Super League failed to live up to its reputation as Chennaiyin FC and Kerala Blasters FC cancelled each other out in a 0-0 draw at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in Chennai on Saturday evening. Over 23 thousand fans were in attendance as both teams failed to capitalise on their chances. After sharing the spoils, both Chennaiyin and Kerala retained their fourth and fifth positions in the standings.
The derby kicked off amidst a charged-up atmosphere in the stadium. Dudu was the man behind the first action of the night as his shot from the angle bounced off a diving Sandip Nandy’s chest and it was cleared away by a defender. Both teams tried to find a way through each other’s defence but were unable to break through.
Chennai had the better chances of the two with Raphael Augusto at the heart of every attack. The Super Machans upped the ante as Kerala marquee Aaron Hughes had to come to his team’s rescue twice. Eli Sabia’s header off Baljit Sahni’s corner was saved off the line and then Davide Succi’s cross off the rebound was also cleared away to safety. The defending champions persisted with their attacks earning three corners in a row with the last of them falling to Bernard Mendy, whose poke hit the side-netting in the 27th minute.
The home side suffered a big blow when Hans Mulder had to come off due to injury with Manuele Blasi coming on, and it wasn’t a surprise that the Blasters soon clawed their way back into the game with Michael Chopra and Mohammed Rafi getting a couple of near chances, the last of them producing a deflected shot from Rafi which safely made its way to Karanjit Singh’s hands. Both teams failed to light up the first half and headed in 0-0 at the break.
The second half began with Chennayin right on cue as Succi found himself one on one against Nandy but he was ruled offside. Sandesh Jhingan then tried to hit on the counter but was duly thwarted by Mehrajuddin Wadoo. The first five minutes of the half were rounded off with Succi again being offside. Kervens Belfort’s effort also narrowly went past the post when Josu Currais whipped in a cross in the 57th minute. Both teams were still unable to deliver the killer blow.
Succi was soon replaced with Maurizio Peluso and the Blasters also had to take off Hughes due to injury. A burst of pace from Mohammed Rafique saw him delivering an inch perfect low cross to Belfort but the Haitian wasted the best chance of the night as he put it wide.
Substitute Duckens Nazon who came on for Rafi turned and had a crack at the goal but Karanjit was in the right position to collect the ball. The Super Machans threw their last throw of the dice by bringing on star striker Jeje Lalpekhlua but nothing came of it. Kerala came close in the dying minutes but Belfort’s effort was saved by the custodian and then Rafique shot wide as the match ended in a goalless draw.
Club award: Shared by both clubs
Amul Fittest Player of the Match: Raphael Augusto
DHL Winning Pass of the Match: Mohammed Rafique
Maruti Suzuki Swift Moment of the Match: Aaron Hughes
ISL Emerging Player of the Match: Jerry Lalrinzuala
Hero of the Match: Cedric Hengbart