ISL 2018-19: Floodlight failure causes 25-minute delay in Bengaluru FC-Kerala Blasters match
The stage was set for the 29th match of the Indian Super League. Bengaluru FC were the visitors at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in Kochi and the Manjappada had filled the stadium to the brim. A tight match was expected between the two teams as Kerala had never won a match against the Bangalore-based franchise of ISL. The Blues had defeated the Yellow Army 1-3 at Kochi and 2-0 at home in ISL 2017-18.
However, no one would have expected what transpired at half-time in this ISL 2018-19 fixture. There was a major power failure due to a few non-functional light bulbs on one of the floodlights which caused a delay of roughly 25 minutes before the 2nd half could commence.
The game was evenly balanced at half-time, with the scores level at 1-1. However, there was a huge refereeing blunder in the first half which gave Carles Cuadrat's troops the advantage. Miku saw Sunil's run and sent the ball through to him in the 17th minute. The captain slotted the ball into the corner past a helpless Naveen.
While replays clearly showed Sunil had made the run a little too early and was offside, the referee's assistant thought otherwise and the goal remained. Nishu tripped Blasters' midfielder Sahal Samad in the box in the 30th minute. Stojanovic took the penalty and thrashed it into the roof of the net past Gurpreet Singh Sandhu to get the Men in Yellow their equalizer.
Moreover, the game would also be remembered for the long power surge, which can get irritating for players. However, the fans present in Kochi made the most of it by turning on the flashlights of their phones and grooving to the music.
This is not the first time such an incident has occurred in the ISL. During a game being contested between Bengaluru FC and NorthEast United at the Sree Kanteerava Stadium last season, the lights on one of the towers had gone out midplay and caused a delay of 5 minutes. Back in the inaugural edition in 2014, a power outage had resulted in a blackout at the Salt Lake Stadium and caused a delay of 11 minutes in the ATK-Chennaiyin FC match.
The visitors Bengaluru FC eventually won the match 2-1 due to an unfortunate own goal by Nikola Krcmarevic. It was an evenly-contested fixture but a late goal and a refereeing error again denied Kerala Blasters from three points yet again. After a string of 4 draws, they lose their first match of the campaign.
As things stand, Bengaluru FC have now moved to the top of the table with 4 wins and a draw out of their 5 matches – with 13 points in their kitty. Meanwhile, the Blasters remain at the 6th spot after 1 win, 4 draws, and 1 loss from their 6 encounters.