Kerala, NorthEast share points after a tale of two penalties

Kerala Blasters FC’s winless run in Hero Indian Super League (Hero ISL) 2019-20 extended to nine matches after they were held to a 1-1 draw by NorthEast United FC at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in Kochi on Saturday. Both the goals in the fixture came from penalties, with Bartholomew Ogbeche converting for the hosts in the first-half and Asamoah Gyan drawing the visitors level after the restart.

  • Ogbeche converted a penalty to give Kerala the lead in the 43rd minute.
  • Gyan scored from the spot to bring NorthEast level in the 50th minute.

Kerala looked the brighter of the two sides in the early exchange and NorthEast goalkeeper Subhasish Roy being called into action twice within the first 10 minutes, first parrying out Prasanth Karuthadathkuni’s drive from distance and then stopping the ball from creeping inside the near post from a Seityasen Singh corner.

NorthEast, however, responded with a big chance of their own in the 11th minute as the returning Asamoah Gyan got his head to a Panagiotis Triadis cross and seemed to have beaten an onrushing TP Rehenesh in the Kerala goal. The ball, however, went agonizingly wide of the target.

The Ghanaian squandered another golden opportunity in the 20th minute after being played through on goal by Lalthathanga Khawlhring. The 34-year-old, uncharacteristically, took a poor first touch and then went on to sky his final shot.

On the other end, Subhasish kept the deadlock intact with a fine save to ward off Mario Arques’ free kick from 20-yards out.

In the 35th minute, Gyan seemed to have made amends for his earlier miss after producing a fine finish to wrap up a clever passing move but unfortunately for NorthEast the linesman signaled offside.

Just before the 40-minute mark, Eelco Schattorie took off Sahal Abdul Samad to bring on Raphael Messi Bouli. In the very next minute, Kerala were awarded a penalty following a clash between Subhasish and Ogbeche just inside the NorthEast box. The Kerala skipper dispatched the spot kick promptly to make it 1-0 for the home team heading into half-time.

Three minutes after the restart, there was another penalty awarded, this time in favour of the Highlanders. The referee deemed Seityasen had handled Rakesh Pradhan’s attempted cross inside the Kerala box and pointed towards the spot. Gyan converted with ease to bring NorthEast level.

Just before the hour mark, Redeem Tlang found himself one-vs-one with Rehenesh after beating the Kerala offside trap but dragged his shot wide much to the disappointment of the away fans.

As the match progressed, both sides toiled hard to edge ahead of the other with the home team dominating possession but the away side looking dangerous on the counter. Kerala could have snuck in a late winner in added time, but substitute Federico Gallego was at the right place at the right time to keep out a Kerala attempt from a corner. The final whistle sounded with the score level at 1-1.

Hero of the Match – Mario Arques

The Spanish midfielder was instrumental for Kerala on the night and pulled the strings from the middle of the park. Arques completed 75 passes in the match with a passing accuracy of 85% and one of them eventually resulted in Kerala’s penalty. He also put in two successful tackles and made an interception to stake his claim on the Hero of the Match award.

AWARDS

Club Award – Kerala Blasters FC and NorthEast United FC

Maruti Suzuki Limitless Player of the Match – Asamoah Gyan

DHL Winning Pass of the Match – Bartholomew Ogbeche

ISL Emerging Player of the Match – Rakesh Pradhan

Hero of the Match – Mario Arques

Watch the Match Highlights here:

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