SC East Bengal missed their opportunity to go ninth in the ISL standings as they conceded a stoppage-time goal to earn just one point from the game against Kerala Blasters. Bakary Kone's own goal gave Robbie Fowler's side the lead in the first half, which was cancelled out by Jeakson Singh in the stoppage time.
East Bengal rue missed opportunities
The Red and Golds went on the offensive against the Kerala Blasters right from the word go. 17-year-old Haobam Singh had a shot on goal from a distance, which was saved by Albino Gomes with an acrobatic attempt.
The pressure from East Bengal finally paid off as Mohammed Rafique received a delightful ball from Jacques Maghoma to cross it in towards Anthony Pilkington. It was deflected off an on-rushing Bakary Kone and ended up in the back of the net.
Since then, the Red and Golds were always off the target for the rest of the game. Matti Steinmann kept acting as the marshall in the midfield and created several opportunities for SC East Bengal to extend their lead. He found Rafique down the left-hand side, who only managed to release a low and weak shot in the 62nd minute.
Jacques Maghoma was a warhorse for most of the game. He laid off Anthony Pilkington with an inch-perfect cross against the run-of-play in the 80th minute. But the Irishman never managed to time his run to meet the incoming ball with his header.
Albino Gomes kept Kerala Blasters inside the game with his stellar performance. After numerous saves throughout the game, he had the best one saved for the last minute.
After absorbing the pressure piled on by Kerala Blasters FC in the second half, SC East Bengal broke in counter in the 87th minute. Pilkington sprinted down the right side of the flank, played it towards Matti Steinmann who set up Jacques Maghoma. The British-Congolese striker only had the keeper to beat from 6 yards. He tried to curl it in beyond the reach of Albino Gomes, but the Kerala Blasters shot-stopper pulled off an unprecedented save.
Kerala Blasters eke out a draw
Sahal Abdul Samad, Jeakson Singh, and Jordan Murray came in the second half to eke something out of the game for Kibu Vicuna. Kerala Blasters showed intent and eventually came closer to the target.
They blocked the midfield and did not allow SC East Bengal to play their football at the back. However, this also meant that the Blasters were vulnerable in counter-attack. This was exploited by SC East Bengal, but they failed to finish off their chances.
They had a good chance in the second half with Facundo Pereyra whipping in a ball into the danger zone. Bakary Kone rose higher than everybody in the box only to head it over the target. Sahal Abdul Samad tested Debjit Majumdar in the 66th minute after receiving a low ball from Nishu Kumar.
Kerala Blasters came closest to scoring in the 71st minute though. Debjit Majumdar and Daniel Fox messed up their communication at the back as Sahal Abdul Samad's floated ball found Jordan Murray. The latter trapped the ball and went for the empty goal. Debjit Majumdar recovered himself in no time and was somehow able to place a fist behind the ball to deny Murray.
The Blasters kept finding chances at goal with set-pieces, before the eventual goal in the 90th minute. Facundo Pereyra's corner was half-cleared and fell to Sahal Abdul Samad. The rising star found Jeakson Singh with a cross, who rose higher than his marker, Sehnaj Singh, to score in stoppage time.
The Blasters could have sneaked in a win as well, if only Sahal Abdul Samad slotted in the last chance of the game at the 95th minute.
SC East Bengal will host Chennaiyin FC on 26th December while Kerala Blasters host Hyderabad FC the following day.Published 21 Dec 2020, 00:44 IST