The Indian Super League match, Kerala Blasters vs Bengaluru FC, has been one of the most fiercest rivalries in the league’s history, starting with Sandesh Jhingan against Sunil Chhetri to the duo playing in the same team against a furious KBFC side, walking out of the stadium in protest.
The last ISL clash between the two sides was the most controversial one in the league’s history, where Kerala Blasters abandoned a match in a knockout clash.
Here are excerpts of the match report, played on March 3, 2023, from that game, by Sportstar’s reporter, N. Sudashan:
The first-ever Indian Super League knockout match didn’t deserve the finish it got. Kerala Blasters, led by its coach Vukomanovic, walked off the pitch protesting an extra-time goal scored by Bengaluru FC’s Chhetri, and thus ended up forfeiting the tie.
The 1-0 scoreline at the Sree Kanteerava Stadium on Friday sent BFC through to the semifinal where it will face Mumbai City FC.
In the 97th minute, Chhetri took a free-kick early, even as the Blasters players were making up their minds about the wall, and the ball soared into the unguarded net, over goalie Prabhsukhan Singh Gill.
Even as the home faithful went into raptures, the miffed Blasters players chose to protest in the least desirable way. There were parleys for about 20 minutes, before the Match Commissioner handed BFC the game.
Why was the Sunil Chhetri goal given?
In the 95th minute, Kerala Blasters’ Vibin Mohanan fouled Sunil Chhetri in front of the penalty box as BFC got the free-kick. He took the free-kick and scored, sending a right-footed strike into the net.
The goal was given because the referee was aware of the forward taking the hit and gave the go-ahead to try the strike.
What did Chhetri say after the game?
“I told the referee that I neither wanted the whistle nor the wall,” said Chhetri later. “He asked if I was sure and I said yes. I tried to hit it once and they [Blasters] blocked it. So I thought they knew what I was going to do. Then I was about to ask the referee for 10 yards space. But I got a small window and that was it.
“About what happened after that, I don’t want to comment. It’s their decision. My personal opinion is... I can understand the Kerala Blasters players’ feelings and disappointment. But I would not leave [the pitch]. Even if the club wants me to, I wouldn’t.”
- Al Nassr vs Al Duhail LIVE score, NAS 1-0 DUH, AFC Champions League: Nawaf saves Kim’s shot; Talisca goal keeps home team ahead
- Mohun Bagan Super Giant vs Bashundhara Kings, AFC Cup HIGHLIGHTS: Kings end Super Giant’s winning streak with 2-2 draw
- ODI World Cup 2023: Mahmudullah dedicates ton against South Africa to those who supported him
- Champions League: PSG’s games against Milan are a must win to qualify ‘Group of Death’: Luis Enrique
- Bishan Singh Bedi cremated in presence of Indian sports legends