Welcome to Sportstar’s highlights of the Indian Super League knockout match between Bengaluru FC and Kerala Blasters, being played at the Kanteerava Stadium in Bengaluru.
Match report: Kerala Blasters players walk off pitch; Bengaluru FC awarded semifinal spot
The Indian Super League authorities take the pitch and are having conversation regarding any further action on the match. The result, however, looks most certainly to go in favour of Bengaluru FC, which will play Mumbai City FC next, in semifinal.
The first-half of extra-time is almost over and still there is no sign of Kerala Blasters or any member of its camp walking back on to the pitch. Meanwhile, KBFC fans shout, “We want justice!” while seem walking out of the stadium.
Sunil Chhetri looks to step up for discussion with Kerala Blasters to see if a solution is possible to this quandary as KBFC fans wait with baited breath, awaiting a final result in this ISL knockout game.
All Bengaluru players, fans and the referees wait for the visiting team to return. This has never happened in the history of the Indian Super League that something of this sort has happened and the fans cannot believe the set of events enfolding at the Kanteerava Stadium.
The KBFC players have left the field as the BFC players stand bamboozled at the decision of the visiting team to walk away in extr-time as a protest against Crystal John’s declare the goal as a legal one.
READ MORE: Kerala Blasters players leave pitch after Bengaluru FC scores ‘controversial’ freekick goal
Goal! Sunil Chhetri tries to start an attack from the No. 10 position and earns a free kick. He takes the free-kick and buries the ball into the net with a phenomenal strike. But controversy strikes at the Kanteerava Stadium as KBFC feels the referee did not blow the whistle or the KBFC players were not ready.
The players have been called back by Vukomanovic and Adrian Luna has itaken off the captain’s arm-band and the Kerala Blasters payers have walked off the field. Unbelievable scenes at the Kanteerava Stadium.
Kerala Blasters tries a reply from a similar attempt, from a corner kick. However, Victor Mongil fails to find a proper connection on the ball as the score remains locked at 0-0.
Chance for BFC! Roshan takes the corner kick for Bengaluru FC and Bruno jumps to stick his head to it. But his header is too high as it flies over the net to the relief of thousands of travelling fans at the Kanteerava Stadium.
Roshan takes the BFC corner kick, which is cleared by KBFC and Kerala Blasters tries a counter attack. Gurpreet makes a timely run to come out of the box and deny any margin for error for his side.
Another chance tor KBFC! Sahal gets the ball off BFC, beats three defenders and tries a right-footed hit from outside the box. But the ball flies just wide off-target
Chance! Kerala comes close to scoring as Rahul makes a run along the right wing, crosses for Luna, who does get a head, but fails to find the net with the Uruguayan caught off-guard with the cross.
Change for Bengaluru FC! In: Alan Costa, Out: Aleksandar Jovanovic
Rahul and Ayush try to start an attack along the right side of the midfield. Both play a one-two as the latter carries the ball into the final third only to see BFC take back control of the ball.
Vukomanovic looks for more options in the midfield as he subs on Ayush to replace Jessel. Nishu gets back in the back four as Ayush takes the midfield spot.
Chance! Luna and Sahal combine to attack against the run of play and the latter beats Naorem to shoot with his right foot but the ball ends up in the side-net.
Sunil Chhetri replaces Siva Sakthi as Simon Grayson looks up to the veteran to find a solution to the deadlock at the Kanteerava Stadium in this crucial Indian Super League fixture.
Substitution for KBFC! In: Sahal Abdul Samad, Out: Danish Farooq
Dimitrios tries to start an attack, but Bruno is stuck to him, marks him well enough to ensure that he gives the ball away following a overshot cross to the other end of the field.
Jessel, the KBFC captain, looks to track back for his defensive duties and is caught by a challenge from Javi. He remains on the ground until the match pauses after an off-side as players get time to cool down and restart their quest for a breakthrough here.
Yellow card! Roy Krishna decides to start an attack against the run of play. He gets the ball and starts sprinting through the middle of the park and is fouled by Leskovic in what looked a rash foul. The referee, after having a word with the Croat, books him.
We have gone past the hour mark and the match has looked an extremely close affair, in terms of possession. Bengaluru FC has had 45 percent while KBFC has had 55 precent.
What a save! Another attempt to get into the BFC box, another defensive masterclass by the Blues ads Jessel is dispossessed of the ball as it goes out of play. Meanwhile, BFC attacks on the other side. Roy Krishna’s pass is received well by Suresh, who stops the ball and shoots on target to force a save by Gill.
Luna carries the ball along the left flank, passes it to Jessel, who fails to thread a bass into the BFC box as the Blues continues to keep the defence intact.
Bengaluru looks to start another attack as Roy Krishna delivers a cross for Rohit, but he overshoots the ball for a KBFC goal kick.
Time for Bengaluru to attack on the other side. Naorem Roshan Singh tries a floating cross from a free-kick, but Gill is there to intercept and stop that attack as the teams get back into the doldrums of a tightly contested goalless fixture so far.
Luna tries to build an attack for KBFC with one-touch football, combining with Dimitrios and tries a lofted cross for the Australian. But the ball lands into the gloves of Gurpreet.
Unlike the first-half, this half has begun in a balanced fashion with Roy Krishna moving to the centre of attack instead of double pivot of Siva and Krishna.
Three defenders at the back has worked wonders for Grayson and his men with Bruno now pressing high up the pitch and denies Dimitrios a chance to grab the ball at the edge of the final third, nipping the attack in the bud.
Bengaluru FC has one blue shirt stuck to every yellow shirt in its final third as Simon Grayson’s side looks to cover all bases in this crucial clash against last year’s runner-up.
Bengaluru attacks again with Siva trying to get the ball to Roy in the centre. His cross is cleared only as far as Javi, who passes to Prabir who crosses for Rohit in the centre, but the ball goes out of play eventually.
After dominating attack for the first 30 minutes of pay, Kerala Blasters looks to claw back control with small-passes through narrow channels to build up attacks slowly. Javi tries to carry the ball from the midfield and is pushed down by Nishu Kumar for a quick free-kick.
KBFC almost scores from a set-piece! Nishu Kumar takes the corner kick and the ball falls for Victor Mongil, who fails rto land a shot on target.. However, replay shows the former OFC player was at an off-side position.
Kerala Blasters has scored 29 percent of its goals from set-pieces this season. However, it has not got any such chance in this match so far and will hope to score sooner than later to have an advantage in this crucial clash.
Kerala Blasters tries to progress up the pitch with triangular passing, but Prabir stands as a crucial impediment. He stops the ball along the left flank, beats two KBFC defenders with a great turn but loses the ball eventually. Kerala continues the attack but all it can end up to is a goal kick for the hosts.
Chance! Bengaluru takes the corner kick and Bruno Ramires tries to control the ball, but Danish steals it from him but eventually he, too, loses control. BFC starts an attack from a throw-in and Siva sets up Krishna, who runs past three KBFC defenders and shoots to force a save by Gill. Javi runs in to strike the rebound, but KBFC clears for a corner kick.
Krishna heads the corner just over the net. What a miss that!
Gurpreet tries to start a quick attack for BFC with a long kick, trying to play from the back, but Leskovic, with his eyes stuck to the ball, intercepts before Roy Krishna gets to it to head it out of danger.
Nishu tries a through ball along the right flank for Danish, who has made a run behind the BFC defence. But Jhingan tracks back on time to deny his former teammate a chance to score for KBFC.
Foul! Roy Krishna makes a darting run into the final third with the ball and Lekovic comes sliding in to get the ball back. His late challenge gives BFC a free-kick, which was taken quickly.
Though Bengaluru FC has enjoyed more of the ball in the final third, it is Kerala Blasters which has more shots on target in the first 15 minutes of the match. Bengaluru’s best chance was Krishna’s header cleared by Jesse, but that was not counted as the match was paused after a foul on Gil.
Adrian Luna has dropped very deep, almost playing as a wing back as Ivan Vukomanovic’s men try to drag the Blues out of their defence so that the visitors can attack on the counter.
Kerala tries to build an attack this time, with Dimitrios moving the attack from the centre of the box to the right wing. The ball moves to Jessel, but his through ball for the Australian is intercepted by BFC and cleared out of danger.
Javi’s freekick hits the wall, but Bruno heads it in for Krishna’s but Krishna’s header is cleared by Jessel. The referee, however, stops play for a foul of the KBFC goalkeeper Prabhsukhan Gill.
Jeakson brings down Javi as the Spaniard makes a run into the final third and gifts BFC a free-kick. Javo has scored form this position before and this time, too, he steps up to take a shot.
BFC makes another attempt to score, this time from a set-piece. Javi’s free-kick is header just off-target by Jovanovic but later replay shows the defender was already offside owing to KBFC’s high-line.
BFC starts aggressively early on with Rohit releasing Roy Krishna and delivering a lobbed pass for the Fijian. But overshoots as the ball goes out for a goal kick.
7:25 pm: Five changes for Kerala Blasters as Ivan Vukomanovic looks to guide KBFC to its first-ever win at the Kanteerava Stadium. Bengaluru, on the other hand, looks to enter its first semifinal in three years.
7:00 pm: Only half and hour left for the derby and we cannot keep calm!
6:45 pm: 45 minutes to kick-off!
Fans of both Bengaluru FC and Kerala Blasters are looking to fill seats at the Kanteerava Stadium with the hosts looking to secure a win in the first knockout in the Indian Super League.
There was a time, not so long ago, when Bengaluru FC was staring at a third straight below-par season.
After collecting just 10 points from the first 12 matches, the 2018-19 Indian Super League champion seemed set to miss out on a playoff spot even in a generous, new format where six out of 11 teams would make the grade.
But with eight wins on the trot, Simon Grayson’s side has not only stormed into the playoff round but is the favourite going into the single-leg knock-out contest against Kerala Blasters FC at the Sree Kanteerava Stadium on Friday.
At stake is a spot in the semifinal against Mumbai City FC.
With just one win from the last five outings and none from the previous six away fixtures, KBFC will need an inspirational performance.
For that, two figures who can enliven proceedings, Adrian Luna and Dimitrios Diamantakos (10 goals), cannot be as silent as they were in the most recent tie between the two sides (a 1-0 home win for BFC last month).
Part of it was also down to BFC’s defence – just six goals conceded in the last eight matches – led by the outstanding Sandesh Jhingan, who will look to continue in similar vein.
In Javi Hernandez, BFC has a gamechanger, and in Roy Krishna and N. Sivasakthi, an in-form front two. KBFC will have to stop the trio that has accounted for 17 of BFC’s 27 goals this season. But without midfielder Ivan Kaliuzhnyi (suspended), it will be quite a task.