Kerala Blasters FC and Chennaiyin FC played out an incredible 3-3 draw in an exhilarating encounter that left nothing to separate between the two sides at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in Kochi in the Indian Super League (ISL) 2023-24 season tonight.  

Great atmosphere demands equally entertaining, end-to-end action and the crowd in Kochi tonight created a thoroughly engrossing environment. The two teams lived up to those expectations, with the match getting off to a cracking start.

Chennaiyin FC duo of Rahim Ali and Jordan Murray were dealing with injury concerns prior to the game, and head coach Owen Coyle had remarked in the pre-match press conference that the two attackers had recovered in time to feature in this match.

Coyle even mentioned that an ISL fixture in the Kerala Blasters home turf is an event that makes him want to get back to his playing days. As fate would have it, Rahim opened the scoring for the game by netting the tenth-fastest goal in ISL history, in 54 seconds.

What followed was a frenetic passage of play, with Dimitrios Diamantakos and Murray scoring from the spot in the 11th and 13th minutes of the game respectively amidst resounding reception from the Manjappada.

Ajith Kumar was culpable in fouling Kwame Peprah inside the box to hand the home side the penalty. Murray pulled the lead back, with Naocha Singh, the Kerala Blasters No. 50, bringing down Crivellaro a minute later. Interestingly, the Brazilian attacking midfielder also dons the No. 50 for Chennaiyin FC! Murray was never in doubt when he converted that penalty, and he netted the third goal of the night for his side merely 11 minutes later.

Rahim carved open the Kerala Blasters backline with an incisive through ball, and Murray met it perfectly and slotted it past Sachin Suresh as the visitors got off to a start that was as flawless as possible against one of the most in-form sides of the tournament.

However, the Blasters and their skipper Adrian Luna took it upon themselves to inspire that comeback. From nearly 30 yards out, the Uruguayan international pulled the trigger and attempted a shot that was arguably too good to be true. The ball bumped into Peprah, and he turned around and shot the ball firmly into the net with his left foot.

In a night of wonder goals, why would Diamantakos hold back? If his first goal was a straightforward one from the spot, the second one was one that brought the entire stadium to its feet. The Greek forward controlled a pass by Danish Farooq and unleashed a powerful shot from his left foot in the 59th minute to bring the Blasters back on level terms with Chennaiyin FC.

Despite three fantastic goals from both ends, the two sides eventually had to settle for a point each.

Key Performer of the Match

Dimitrios Diamantakos (Kerala Blasters FC)

Diamantakos created three goal-scoring opportunities and scored twice, but it was the break-taking nature of his second strike that brought the Blasters a point from the match. The forward was back in the XI after serving a suspension in the previous game, and he played this game as he was never off the field – sharp and sublime.

What’s next for both teams?

Kerala Blasters FC will square off against FC Goa at the Fatorda Stadium on December 3, whereas Chennaiyin FC will travel to take on Jamshedpur FC on December 7.

Brief Scores

Kerala Blasters FC 3 (Dimitrios Diamantakos 11’ 59’, Kwame Peprah 38’) – 3 Chennaiyin FC (Rafael Crivellaro 1’, Jordan Murray 13’ 24’)

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