ISL 2019-20: Injuries pile up for Kerala Blasters as Odisha clash ends goalless

Kerala Blasters' injury list got longer as centre-back Jairo Rodrigues and Raphael Messi Bouli were withdrawn during the 0-0 draw against Odisha FC on Friday.

Chances were far and few for Odisha FC on a rainy, humid evening in Kochi.   -  ISL MEDIA

Despite raising the tempo, and hopes, late in the second session, Kerala Blasters had to be content with a goalless draw against Odisha FC in the Indian Super League (ISL) at the Nehru Stadium here on Friday night.

The match should have gone the Blasters' way for the home side was denied a penalty in the 35th minute when its young star Sahal Abdul Samad was brought down inside the box.

 

The match, especially the first half, was marred by injuries. Already struggling with many of its leading players on the injured list, the Blasters suffered another setback when centre-back Jairo Rodrigues limped out in the third minute. In the 23rd minute, both the teams' strikers – Odisha's Aridane Santana and the Blasters' Raphael Messi Bouli – had to be subbed off after colliding into each other head-on during a set-piece situation.

The home side which started without its captain and top scorer Bartholomew Ogbeche, bringing in Cameroon's Raphael Messi Bouli, had just two foreigners on the field for a major part of the game while Odisha had five.

READ | As it happened

Penalty Denied!

Shortly after the half-hour mark, Samad went on a smart run, taking out four Odisha players on his way to the goal when he was brought down inside the box by defender Narayan Das. The Blasters screamed for a penalty but the referee was unmoved. Very upset, the Blasters head coach Eelco Schattorie had a word with the referee during the break.

The Blasters looked stronger and combined better in the second session and went all out for the elusive goal shortly after the hour mark. Raju Gaikwad dragged his shot wide and a couple of minutes later, K. Prasanth's attempt from the edge of the box, after a nice cross from Samad, went over.

Ogbeche's arrival, in the 77th minute, raised hopes. And the Blasters' best chance came in the 85th minute when Ogbeche's headed attempt inside the box fell to K.P. Rahul who unleashed a fierce shot from close range. However, Odisha goalkeeper Francisco Dorronsoro smartly pushed away the danger.

The result:

Kerala Blasters 0 drew with Odisha FC 0

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