ISL 2017/18: Were Bengaluru FC robbed of a penalty in final against Chennaiyin FC?
On Saturday, Chennaiyin FC became two-time champions of the Indian Super League (ISL) after beating Bengaluru FC 3-2 in an exciting match at the Sree Kanteerava Stadium in Bengaluru.
It was Bengaluru who had opened the scoring through captain Sunil Chhetri but the away team responded brilliantly to equalise just eight minutes later. Following a corner, a towering header from Mailson Alves helped Chennaiyin get back in the game. Then, just before half-time, the Brazilian defender put his team ahead by scoring from yet another corner.
In the second half, one would have expected Bengaluru to come out all guns blazing. However, Chennaiyin found a third goal in the 67th minute, this time through another Brazilian, Raphael Augusto. With the score reading 3-1 in favour of the visitors, the Bengaluru fans in the stands only grew louder as they egged their team on.
The Blues, led by their dynamic leader Chhetri, pressed forward in an attempt to stage a terrific comeback. As they kept on pushing, an opportunity presented itself in the 89th minute. After some patient build-up, Nishu Kumar played a nice one-two with Victor Perez Alonso and made his way into the box.
Just when he was trying to unleash a shot or send in a cross for his teammates, the Indian youngster was brought down inside the penalty box by Chennaiyin defender Inigo Calderon. While the ball was not completely under Nishu's control, it seemed like Calderon had clearly made substantial contact as he put in a sliding tackle. It wasn't intentional, ut replays showed that Nishu had been fouled.
However, the referee was not convinced and decided to keep the play going even as the Bengaluru players kept on shouting for a penalty. Perhaps Nishu's dramatical fall threw the referee off, but it wasn't a completely blatant decision. It could have gone either way.
A few minutes later, Miku cut the deficit to one and one is left to wonder if the penalty had been given, would it have affected the result?
Also, another major talking point was Udanta Singh being flagged offside in the build-up to a disallowed goal. While there have been suggestions in some quarters that Udanta was onside, a closer look begs us to differ.
The incident which happened in the 52nd minute when Bengaluru were trailing 1-2, saw Udanta's cross being deflected into the net by Henrique Sereno. But even as the ball looped into the goal, past a hapless Karanjeet Singh, the linesman held his flag up, signalling that the young Bengaluru winger was offside.
From the replays, it can be seen that when Miku played the ball through to Udanta, the 20-year-old was marginally offside with his upper half of the body slightly leaning past the last Chennaiyin defender. The linesman, who was in the right position, took the correct call. But had it not been given, the scores would have been tied 2-2 and the entire dynamics of the game could have changed.