ISL: Kerala Blasters hold Chennaiyin to a 1-1 draw
Lallianzuala Chhangte had another lively game for Chennaiyin and was a constant threat to Kerala’s defence. He was a nightmare for the Blasters defenders on the pitch and created chances for his teammates.
Chennaiyin FC’s last match in Indian Super League 2020-21 ended in a 1-1 draw against Kerala Blasters FC at the GMC Stadium in Bambolim on Sunday. Both goals were scored in the first half with Fatkhulo Fatkhulloev netting for Chennaiyin first and then Gary Hooper equalising for Kerala later.
Chennaiyin began the match positively and looked to take the game to Kerala Blasters. The Tamil Nadu team were particularly threatening from the left and after seeing an initial shot blocked by the Blasters, an Anirudh Thapa effort from the left side of the box also got blocked.
Enes Sipovic then headed a cross from the right into the net in the second minute but it was ruled out for offside. Chennaiyin continued to attack as Jakub Sylvestr struggled to keep his header off a Lallianzuala Chhangte cross from the left on target next.
The two-time champions eventually took the lead in the 10th minute after Edwin Vanspaul found Fatkhulloev with a smart through ball towards the right. Fatkhulloev then cut on to his weaker left foot and finished in assured fashion to give Chennaiyin a deserved lead.
Another Sipovic header off a ball from the right then struck the crossbar in the 13th minute as Chennaiyin continued to pile on the pressure. Kerala tried to respond with a counter-attack soon after which culminated with Jordan Murray testing the goalkeeper.
The Marina Machans went up the other end moments later and nearly doubled their lead. A Chhangte cross from the left into the danger area just required a touch from Jakub, who couldn’t get on the end of the ball despite a desperate stretch to get a toe to it.
Kerala grew into the game as the match wore on and started putting Chennaiyin’s goal under more pressure. That pressure resulted in a Kerala penalty just before the half-hour mark when Deepak Tangri’s hand struck the ball in the box.
Hooper stepped up to the spot confidently and slotted the ball into the bottom left corner. Tangri also nearly headed the ball into his own net inadvertently before halftime but his goalkeeper came to the rescue and ensured that the teams went into the break all square.
Neither team managed to create chances as frequently in the second period as they had in the first half. Kerala had a chance to score in the 66th minute when a Murray header looked to be on target and required Chennaiyin goalkeeper Vishal Kaith to be called into action.
The Blasters saw more of the ball in the second period and restricted Chennaiyin from building up a head of steam like they had in the first half. Rahul KP found himself in a good position in the box in the 86th minute but couldn’t adjust his body in time to head a cross from the right on target.
Kerala finished the match strongly with Jessel Carneiro testing the Chennaiyin custodian with a powerful effort from range. Vicente Gomez also headed a cross from the right into the Chennaiyin goalkeeper’s hands in stoppage time but neither side could find the all-important winner as the teams shared the spoils.
Hero of the Match – Lallianzuala Chhangte
(special arrangement, image KBFC)