ISL 2018-19, Bengaluru FC 2-2 Kerala Blasters FC: 5 Talking Points
Bengaluru FC overturned a two-goal deficit to salvage a late point during their 2-2 draw with arch-rivals Kerala Blasters in the Hero Indian Super League (ISL) at the Sree Kanteerava Stadium on Wednesday night.
The hosts were seemingly heading for their first ever defeat in four meetings with Kerala Blasters in the history of the competition, but their opponents failed to buck a recurring trend of conceding late goals in the ISL this term.
However, it was Nelo Vingada's men who started the game on the front foot, when they took the lead as early as the 16th minute, courtesy of a penalty that was comfortably tucked away by Slavisa Stojanovic. The table-toppers were sluggish to get off the blocks under the lights at the Kanteerava and were punished yet again through Courage Pekuson, who curled a sublime shot into the top corner from 30-yards out to leave Gurpreet Singh Sandhu rooted to his spot in goal.
The Men in Yellow continued to dominate proceedings until half-time and forced Carles Cuadrat to ring the changes during the interval. And in the wake of the change in personnel, Bengaluru FC grew in confidence as they came out firing on all cylinders to salvage their pride in the hugely significant derby.
The Kerala Blasters opted for an all hands on deck approach as they conceded possession and ultimately ended up paying the price for inviting the pressure from the hosts.
Udanta Singh showed excellent determination to get on the end of a knock-down from Sunil Chhetri to give Bengaluru FC a shot in the arm by initiating the comeback in the 69th minute, and although the visitors threatened on the break through Stojanovic, who was denied by the cross-bar after a quick counter-attack involving him and Sahal Abdul Samad, it proved to be a sign of things to come.
The usual suspects Chhetri and Udanta combined again with just five minutes left to play as they completed a remarkable turnaround to salvage a point and preserve their unbeaten status in the fixture. Kerala Blasters will be gutted after letting a two-goal lead, and the opportunity to put an end to their 14-game winless run, slip out of their hands, while Bengaluru FC will be aiming to build on their second-half performance to seal a playoff spot.
Without further delay, let's take a closer look at the major talking points from the riveting derby between the sides at the Kanteerava Stadium:
#1 Action-packed derby lives up to the billing
Prior to a ball being kicked in the first southern derby since the turn of the year, both teams were miles apart from each other in terms of their fortunes in the ISL so far this term. Bengaluru FC were close to becoming the first team to book their berth in the semi-finals of the competition, while a wretched start to the campaign meant the Blasters had nothing but pride to play for in the end.
However, both teams showed grit and determination as they played out a volatile derby that turned out to be an engaging spectacle over the course of the 90 minutes. The game had everything ranging from late goals to flying tackles to tempers flaring and what not, as the two rivals fought tooth and nail to attain bragging rights in the region.
Both sets of fans turned up in numbers and were treated to contrasting fortunes either side of half time, courtesy of an action-packed and completely engaging plot that unfolded as a typical 'game of two halves'.
The referee had to dish out six yellow cards during the game and the stat proved to be a perfect testament to what panned out as a feisty encounter between the southern giants.