Rahul KP bags injury-time winner as Kerala Blasters beat Bengaluru
Match 65 of Hero Indian Super League (Hero ISL) 2020-21 saw Kerala Blasters FC come from behind to beat Bengaluru FC 2-1 at the GMC Stadium in Bambolim on Wednesday. Cleiton Silva scored the opening goal of the night for Bengaluru in the first half but substitute Lalthathanga Khawlhring netted the equaliser for Kerala in the second before Rahul KP scored the winner for the Blasters in injury time.
- Cleiton Silva opened the scoring with the 150th goal of the season in the 24th minute.
- Goals from Lalthathanga Khawlhring and Rahul KP in the second half gave Kerala the win.
It took Bengaluru less than 30 seconds to register the first shot of the match after Erik Paartalu picked up possession near Kerala’s penalty area and ran into the box before firing an effort into the goalkeeper’s hands. The Blues looked the brighter side in the opening exchanges and got into more threatening areas on the pitch.
Kerala’s first opportunity came in the 15th minute when a corner led to Vicente Gomez heading the ball into a dangerous area at the far post for Costa Nhamoinesu, who couldn’t keep his rushed attempt at goal on target. Jordan Murray then had a chance inside the penalty box in the 18th minute, but his shot also failed to test the goalkeeper.
However, it was Bengaluru that took the lead in the 24th minute after a throw-in by Rahul Bheke into the box evaded all the players and made it to Silva. The Brazilian then demonstrated his ruthlessness by producing an acrobatic shot to volley home and put the Blues in front.
Most of the remainder of the half saw Bengaluru pushing forward in search of a second goal. Udanta Singh even got into dangerous areas on a couple of occasions without making the most of those chances. Instead, Kerala ended up testing Bengaluru’s custodian in the 42nd minute when a cross from the right was headed by Francisco Gonzalez in order to clear it away but ricocheted off Juanan and went into the goalkeeper’s hands.
The final chance of the half went to Bengaluru and it came from a direct freekick just outside the opposition box. Sunil Chhetri took the freekick and forced Albino Gomes into making a save as the Blues went into the break with a 1-0 lead.
Both teams took a bit of time to get going in the second half. Neither side created any clear-cut chances for most of the half, but Kerala did get the equaliser in the 73rd minute when a pass from outside the box put Gary Hooper through on goal. The Englishman got his shot away only for Gurpreet Singh Sandhu to come off his line and make a save that momentarily injured the shot-stopper and kept him out of the action.
The danger, however, wasn’t over as the ball went to the right flank after Sandhu’s save and Sandeep Singh was there to cross into the box again for Hooper, who forced a goal-mouth scramble with another effort before substitute Khawlhring found himself in the right place at the right time to slot into the net and make it all square.
Rahul then found himself in on goal six minute later for Kerala. His attempt on goal though was saved comfortably by Sandhu on this occasion. The closing stages of the contest saw both sides receive direct freekicks in threatening positions but neither team could capitalize. Bengaluru substitute Leon Augustin also had a clear sight at goal in injury time and forced a save out of the goalkeeper.
The final moments of the match, in fact, were frantic as both sides had chances to win late on. A bicycle kick by a Blues player even struck the frame of the goal. However, Kerala managed to clear the ball and set Rahul on his way for a quick counter that culminated with him beating Sandhu at the other end of the pitch to win the match late for the Blasters.
Hero of the Match – Rahul KP
Rahul KP was involved in all areas of the pitch and deserved to score the winner for Kerala in injury time. He made two successful interceptions in the match and bagged Kerala’s second deep into stoppage time to break Bengaluru’s heart.
Other Match Awards
Club Award – Kerala Blasters FC
DHL Winning Pass of the Match – Gary Hooper (Kerala Blasters FC)
Watch the Match Highlights here: