Match 26 of the 2015 Indian Super League saw Kerala Blasters FC host Chennaiyin FC at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium, Kochi. A change of managerial reigns for the host team did see signs of improvement in their gameplay, but it ended all square leaving The Manjappada lying at the bottom of the table.Chennaiyin FC before this game had the chance to go on top of the table with a win, but they would be happy to see a draw as goal keeper Karanjit Singh rescued them from the jaws of defeat after saving a penalty kick from Spanish national Josu Currias.We take a look at five talking points from the game.All images in this slideshow have been source from the ISL.
#1 Sandesh Jhingan\'s mistake in the 33rd minute
On a drizzling night, it was important for Kerala Blasters FC to keep calm and not make silly errors. 22-year-old Sandesh Jhingan was letting his hands talk more when his team needed him to play football.
Jhingan was already warned by the referee and conceded a free kick for fouling Chennaiyin FC striker Mendoza Valencia. To commit a similar mistake in his box yet again on Mendoza was asking for trouble. The referee rightly pointed to the spot and the penalty awarded was converted by the reliable Elano.
Jhingan’s inexperience was acknowledged by caretaker manager of The Yellow Army, Trevor Morgan who in the post-match interview agreed with the referee’s decision to award a penalty.
#2 Chris Dagnall joins the 100 club
It would not have been any quicker when number 9 British veteran Chris Dagnall opened the scoring for Kerala Blasters FC in the 46th minute of the second half. Trailing 0-1 at home, Morgan’s side needed an answer to avoid a fifth straight defeat in the second edition of Indian Super League. Dagnall took responsibility of avoiding yet another loss by scoring the equaliser to make it 1-1.
Left-back Saumik Dey provided a whipping cross in Chennaiyin FC’s box right after the start of second half. The ball played was too fast for the away team’s skipper and centre-half Alessandro Potenza, who tried reaching it by raising his boots dangerously but couldn’t connect.
Potenza’s failure to clear was a window of opportunity for Dagnall who despite being in danger of getting hit on his head by the studs of the oppositions captain, risked it all and went for the glory. Fortune often favours the brave and Dagnall valiantly headed the ball to see it fly past the goal keeper. It could have been a serious injury.
It was Dagnall’s second goal of the season and 100th in professional football for all teams.
#3 While Morgan agreed, Marco Materazzi would have been furious
Call it an error or not; the referee got it all wrong when he decided to award Kerala Blasters FC a penalty. A slight tussle between Chennaiyin FC defenders and the home team’s captain Peter Ramage resulted in him falling down while the ball that floated in from a free kick by Josu was safely collected by away team’s keeper Karanjit Singh.
To Chennaiyin’s dismay, the referee decided against everyone from Chennaiyin FC and ordered a spot kick to be taken. Karanjit Singh did eventually save the penalty taken by Josu. But a goal would have given Kerala the vital lead and transformed Materazzi into a Mourinho(a hyperbole perhaps).
#4 Trevor Morgan becomes the first caretaker manager in the history of the Indian Super League
A CV that boasts several accolades on Indian soil for Trevor Morgan does not give a clear picture about him being the right man to take out Kerala Blasters FC from its misery. Despite winning the Federation Cup with East Bengal and later reaching the quarterfinals of 2013 AFC Cup with the same team, his latest stint as a manager on Indian soil resulted his team Dempo Sports Club, getting relegated to the second tier of I-league.
Even with Dempo SC, he was called midway during the season when the team from Goa were struggling to stay in the I-league’s top division, but he could not resolve their crisis.
Asking him to guide Kerala Blasters FC to the top 4 of Indian Super League is a monumental task given his team has 5 points from 7 games.
#5 Elano has class, but Stiven Mendoza is the man
Still the joint top scorer in the 2015 ISL with 6 goals alongside Indian football team captain Sunil Chhetri, Stiven Mendoza is by no means second fiddle to Elano.
The Brazilain may well have converted a penalty today, but it’s the Colombian who is doing all the hard work for his team. An athlete running till the last minute of the game deserves his name on the goal scorers leader board this season.
It was him who had drawn Sandesh Jhingan to make a foul on him which resulted into a penalty. Even the red card to Bruno Perone of Kerala Blasters FC was because of Mendoza’s ball control leaving Perone to make a crunching foul on him.
He has kept the star of the inaugural ISL, Fikru Teferra out of the team. His work rate is an additional aspect to his game. In his armour, he has weapons like, speed, dribbling and finishing. Stiven Mendoza might well be the player of the season.