Chennaiyin FC played Kerala Blasters in their second game of the Indian Super League 2020-21 season. It was Kerala Blasters' third game of the season. While Chennaiyin FC came into the game on the back of winning their opening game, Kerala Blasters failed to win both their previous games.
Chennaiyin were hoping to keep their winning run intact, whereas Kerala Blasters was searching for their first win of the season. Kerala Blasters were playing their third game in nine days which was a hectic task and prompted Kibu Vicuna to make some changes in the starting eleven.
The game started with both the teams trying to get the early lead, but the first half ended with the scoreboard reading 0-0.
The second half started with both Kerala and Chennaiyin trying to break the deadlock, but both the teams' defense and keepers made sure that they didn't concede. Chennaiyin FC did have a golden chance to score when they were awarded a penalty, but Albino Gomes dived in the right direction to stop Jakub Sylvester's penalty.
The match ended 0-0 with both teams sharing a point each.
A tale of two Goalkeepers
In the first half, Vishal Kaith made a breathtaking save from a Rohik Kumar long ranger that was destined to end in the back of the net. Albino Gomes on the other end made some crucial saves to deny Chennaiyin FC from scoring.
In the second half, Albino saved a penalty from Jakub Sylvestr to keep the scores level and secure a crucial point for Kerala Blasters. Vishal Kaith was also the best player for his side, having made some crucial saves.
It is safe to say today both teams were rescued at times by their goalkeepers.
A lackluster display from both teams' forwards
While the goalkeepers had their A-game on the forwards of both, the teams failed to impress as they kept squandering chances throughout the game. Kerala Blasters have one of the best attacking lineups in the Indian Super League — at least on paper — with the likes of Garry Hooper, Jordan Murray, and Facundo Pereyra in their ranks.
On the pitch, though, they looked blunt in front of goal, like they have in the first three games. Kerala Blasters fans will hope that their forwards find their scoring boots soon.
Chennaiyin FC impressed everyone with their attacking football in their first game against Jamshedpur FC. Still, today they failed to live up to the same expectations with the likes of Esmael Goncalves and Jakub Sylvestr missing some absolute sitters.
Kerala Blasters' tight schedule catches up with them
When the ISL fixtures were released, a lot of the Kerala fans were worried about playing three games in nine days right at the start of the season. While it is not unusual to have congested fixtures in the Indian Super League but given the pandemic, some teams did hope for a more lenient fixture list.
Kerala Blasters were suffering from specific injury problems in the pre-season itself with the likes of Rahul KP missing the first two games. At the same time, while he did make a comeback in this game, Kibu Vicuna had to do without the service of Putea in midfield.
Influential midfielder Sergio Cidoncha had to be taken off the field in the ending moments of the game due to an injury, and Kerala Blasters finished the game with just ten men on the pitch, as they had utilized all their substitutes. Kibu Vicuna will be hoping to use the month of December, where Kerala Blasters have some free time, to get his squad in shape and ready.
Even the Chennaiyin players looked tired in the second half, and it is evident that a small pre-season is affecting the players.