ISL 2019: Chhetri's header gives Bengaluru 1-0 win over Kerala Blasters

Catch all the LIVE score, updates, commentary of the ISL 2019-20 match between Bengaluru FC and Kerala Blasters at Sree Kanteerava Stadium, Bengaluru.

Sunil Chhetri heads in Bengaluru FC's solitary goal of the match against Kerala Blasters.   -  ISL Media

Catch all the LIVE updates of the ISL match between Bengaluru FC and Kerala Blasters at Sree Kanteerava Stadium, Bengaluru on Saturday.

 

FULL-TIME: BENGALURU FC 1-0 KERALA BLASTERS

Bengaluru maintains its unbeaten run against Kerala Blasters which stretches to five matches. Sunil Chhetri, who has been kept quiet in the opening stages of the game, put the host ahead with a diving header in the 55th minute of the match from a corner kick. Kerala remains stagnant at seventh in the table while the defending champion climbs up to second in the able with the win.

90+4' Augusto tries to cut in from the left but is hacked down by Rahul KP. Bengaluru gets back the possession as the referee blows the final whistle.

90+2' Sahal goes on a mazy dribble on the right as he crosses it towards Messi Bouli at the far post who lays it off for Jeakson Singh who puts the ball into the back of the net. However, the linesman had his flag up for offside.

90' Udanta comes off for a last-minute change to be replaced by Edmund Lalrindika. we have four minutes of added time as Kerala trying to hold on with everything it has.

86' A new headache for Eelco Schattorie as Rafi doesn't look okay. Kerala has only made its three substitutions and will have continue to play with 10 men.

83' Bengaluru wastes an opportunity from a corner kick as Ashique goes for an audacious long range kick from the centre of the pitch. Mohammed Rafi, who came on a substitute for Hakku, receives treatment after a heavy landing on his back while clearing Bengaluru corner with an acrobatic effort.

80' Kerala doing everything it can to get the equaliser. Cido goes for a long throw-in on the right flank as it reaches Messi Bouli at the near post who can only guide into the sidenetting.

78' Messi Bouli puts Sahal through to the goal with a looping ball at the far post, but the young midfielder is unable to latch on to the cross as Gurpreet block his international teammate's path.

76' Messi Bouli is lucky to have gotten away with just with warning after he brings down Ashique with a studs on challenge in the centre.

74' WHAT A SAVE! Bengaluru manages to get the ball into the box as Dimas lays it off for Augusto inside the box who thought he has certainly scored Bengaluru's second. However, T.P. Rehenesh keeps the ball out with his outstretched left leg.

72' Sahal gets booked after he catches Nishu Kumar giving away a free kick in a dangerous position on the right.

71' Poor first touch from Dimas who finds himself in space on the left side but lets the ball run away from him near the byline as Kerala win a goal kick.

69' CLOSE! Ogbeche gets on the left side and cuts it back to Messi Bouli who is unmarked inside the box. The striker gets past Nishu Kumar with a brilliant first touch and pulls the trigger as the ball goes agonisingly wide off the post. That is closest Kerala has come in this match.

65' Now Messi Bouli goes into the referee's book for dissent after he is fouled by Khabra just outside the box.

62' First substitution for Kerala as Sahal Abdul Samad comes on for Prasanth.

61' Kerala is looking desperate to get a goal back as Messi Bouli chases a stray pass on the left wing but loses the ball to Khabra.

58' Close! Dimas and Augusto steal the ball inside the box as the former presented with a golden opportunity to curl it into the far post but Raju Gaikwad throws himself in the way to block  the shot.

55' GOAL CHHETRI! Bengaluru gets the opener and it is the talismanic captain who breaks the deadlock. Its a training ground routine from the champion as Chhetri runs into the box unmarked to meet a corner kick and unleashes a powerful header from close range into the back of the net.

52' The chances are coming thick and fast as Ashique lays it off for Chhetri outside the box but the Bengaluru captain's shot comes out of a crowded Kerala box. Khabra brings down Rahul near the half line and is booked by the referee.

50' Close! Bengaluru has back to back chances as Chhetri and Udanta get close to the goal. Neither of them are able to test Rehenesh.

48' Ogbeche puts Prasanth through on the right as he cuts it back for Messi Bouli lurking at the back post. However, the pass is intercepted by Juanan who clears it away. Kerala comes back immediately as Jessel's cross from left it picked out by Gurpreet.

46' Kerala gets the second half going as Bengaluru wins back the ball and Ashique races down the flank and gets to the byline. However, the winger is taken off the ball by Rakip and Kerala get the ball back.

* The player emerge out of the tunnel as the Bengaluru players are in a deep conversation discussing their movement. They will be feeling unlucky to have seen Rafael Augusto's goal being ruled out despite the ball staying within the boundaries as Udanta Singh hit the cross into the box.

HALF-TIME: BENGALURU FC 0-0 KERALA BLASTERS

45+2' Chhetri! Ashique whips in a low cross from the left as Chhetri has a chance to lay it of to Augusto in the centre, but chooses to beat Rehenesh at the near post as he drills the ball into the sidenetting.

45+1' Two minutes of added time to a breathless first half which was filled with multiple missed opportunities and some below average defending from Bengaluru. 

43' Phenomenal Miss! Rehenesh's clearance from the Kerala half falls in no man's land at the other end as Messi Bouli gets on the end of it and sprints towards the goal. With Serran behind him and just Gurpreet to beat the 27-year old blasts the ball over the goal.

41' The visitor is having more of the ball now as Ogbeche chases a long ball from behind and clatters into Gurpreet who comes off his line to collect the ball. The Indian goalkeeper quickly apologises to diffuse the situation.

38' Kerala's team has looked a completely different outfit from its previous match against Odisha FC where chances were at a premium. The strike pair of Messi Bouli and Ogbeche have been a constant menace inside the box while Cido has been his assured self in the centre.

36' Kerala Lucky! Udanta gets on the ball just outside the box as he passes it to Augusto inside the box. The forward cuts it back to onrushing Paartalu at the back post but his header lacks direction and the visitor breathes a sigh of relief.

34' The contest is heating up! Rakip brings down Ashique with a cynical foul on the left wing and the referee is forced to reach out for the yellow card.

32' Save! Gurpreet with a tame pass to Juanan which is intercepted by Jeakson Singh just outside the box. Bengaluru's custodian rushes out of the box to make a desperate clearance to make up for his mistake.

30' Confusion! Bengaluru goes on a counter as Udanta hits a looping ball into the box for Rafael Augusto who sends a powerful header into the net. However, the linesman has his flag up suggesting the ball is out of play as the cross was played in.

27' It has been an ordinary defensive performance from Bengaluru so far. Serran and Khabra struggle to clear the ball as Gurpreet scrambles to clear the danger.

25' Rahul wins a corner for Kerala, but Jessel's corner kick is flat and heavy as Ogbeche is unable to bring the ball down.

23' Rahul K.P crosses into the box as Ogbeche jumps over Serran to a get a head to it. However, the contact from the strike is not perfect and Gurpreet latches on to the loose ball.

20' It has been an electric start to the match with both teams getting into promising positions. However, both goalkeepers Gurpreet and T.P. Rehenesh are yet to be tested.

17' Kerala wins a free-kick on the right in the final third. Cido whips in a perfect delivery into the box but Jessel's foul on Serran results in a Bengaluru goal kick.

15' MISS! Ogbeche turns the Bengaluru defence inside out as he sends Messi Bouli hurtling down on the left. Bouli cuts it back across the face of the goal for his strike partner, but Ogbeche narrowly misses out on getting the final touch.

13' Udanta does well to track back into his own half and wins the ball for Bengaluru. Dimas Delgado hits a pin-point long ball for Chhetri to chase. However, Rehenesh reads it and get to the ball before the Bengaluru skipper.

10' Bengaluru with a half-chance! Nishu Kumar curls the ball over the Kerala defence as Erik Paartalu makes a run into the box but is unable to make a good connection.

8' Close! Harmanjot Khabra's poor clearance inside the box falls for Messi Bouli who lays it off for Rakip who crosses it towards  KP Rahul at the far post. However, the forward's header bounces off Khabra for a corner.

5' Bengaluru gets its first sniff of the ball as Ashique is boxed in at the left corner by two Kerala defenders. Udanta takes a shot from outside the box and wins a corner, but the team in Blue is unable to threaten from the set-piece.

3' Bright start to the game by the Blasters. Prasanth hits a long ball from the centre which reaches Ogbeche on the edge of the box. The forward brings the ball down with a backheel but seems to have caught Albert Serran on his follow through. The referee awards a free kick to the host.

1' Here we go! Bengaluru begins the proceedings from left to right. Messi Bouli robs the ball from Juanan on the right and puts the home defence under pressure immediately. He wins a corner, but nothing comes out of it.

* The players walk out of the tunnel to a thunderous reception from the fans. Both sets, the canary yellow of Kerala fans and the home team's very own West Block Blues are in full force today.

Lineups: Messi Bouli and Ogbeche back for the Blasters

Bengaluru FC:  Gurpreet (GK), Nishu, Serran, Juanan, Ashique, Paartalu, Harmanjot, Augusto, Dimas, Udanta, Chhetri (C)

Kerala Blasters: Rehenesh (GK)), Rakip, Raju Gaikwad, Hakku, Jessel, Prasanth K, Rahul KP, Cidoncha, Jeakson, Messi Bouli, Ogbeche (C)

What's at stake?

Defending champion Bengaluru FC is unbeaten this season and currently sits fifth in the table with six points from four games. Carles Cuadrat men will look to add to their 3-0 win over Chennaiyin FC and move to second place in the table.

Kerala Blasters, which is currently languishing in the lower half of the ISL table at seventh, desperately needs a win to snap its three-match winless streak. A draw will lift the Kochi-based side to sixth while a win will see it overtake Bengaluru FC to fifth in the table.


Several faces from these two teams also feature in the Indian national team, which spent its international break facing disappointing results in its 2022 FIFA World Cup qualifier campaign. Our team reviews the biggest takeaways on our analysis special podcast - Matchpoint Paradox :



Our correspondent Shreedutta Chidananda previews the Southern rivalry -

A record crowd is expected at the Sree Kanteerava Stadium when Bengaluru FC meets Kerala Blasters in the Indian Super League (ISL) at Bengaluru on Saturday.

The venue's South Stand — which last seated spectators during the 2018 ISL final — has been opened again to satisfy the heavy demand for tickets, and it would not be a surprise if the attendance record for an ISL game here, currently in the region of 24,000, is broken.

There has always been an edge to the rivalry between the sides, off the pitch at least. On the field, the results have been lopsided: Bengaluru FC is unbeaten in the four matches  against Kerala Blasters, winning three of them.

When the teams last met at the Kanteerava Stadium in February this year, BFC rallied from 2-0 down to draw 2-2, with Sunil Chhetri netting the equaliser five minutes from time.

As many as six Bengaluru FC players were on duty for India this past week, but coach Carles Cuadrat dismissed concerns about fatigue. "They can take extra learning from playing international football," the Spanish coach said.

The international break came after Bengaluru FC had posted its first win of the season, a 3-0 rout of Chennaiyin FC at home. Chhetri played as a central striker in that game, with Udanta Singh and Ashique Kuruniyan on either side and Manuel Onwu on the bench. That all-Indian forward-line is a formula Bengaluru FC could stick to, provided all three players are fully fit and rested.

Kerala Blasters, with four points from four games, has been set back by injury to key players this season. On Friday, head coach Eelco Schattorie refused to offer any updates on his injured players, seemingly for strategic reasons. But he and Kerala will know they have their task cut out.

Here's a tracker of all the injuries facing Eelco Schattorie's boys in this season of the Indian Super League.

The match will be live on Star Sports network and streaming on Hotstar, kick-off at 7.30 pm (IST).