ISL 2019-20: Controversial penalty denies Blasters win against NorthEast

Both the goals came from the spot kick as Kerala Blasters and NorthEast United played out a 1-1 draw in the Indian Super League (ISL).

Blasters players react to the awarding of a penalty for NorthEast.   -  ISL/SPORTZPICS

'Was that a penalty?'

That was the talking point for a major part of the second half as NorthEast United, down by a goal towards the end of the opening half, came back to hold Kerala Blasters to a 1-1 draw after a controversial penalty in the Indian Super League at the Nehru Stadium here on Saturday night.

AS IT HAPPENED

That piece of action came five minutes into the second half when referee Rahul Kumar Gupta punished Seityasen Singh for what he thought was a handball. But it appeared to be the midfielder's head that was in contact, as he attempted to deflect a Rakesh Pradhan cross to his goalkeeper, and not his hand. And NorthEast striker Asamoah Gyan, who had missed a couple of good chances earlier, converted the penalty with a shot to the right which goalkeeper Rehenesh could do nothing about.

The Blasters' goal, which gave it the lead, also come through a penalty seven minutes earlier. Captain and forward Ogbeche moved into the box after receiving the ball from Mario Arques and goalkeeper Subhasish Roy rushed to thwart the Blasters striker. But in the process, his follow-through appeared to bring Ogbeche down and seconds later, the Frenchman placed the ball neatly to the right corner to give the home side the lead. Subhashish, however, appeared to be very upset with the referee's decision.

Ogbeche celebrates putting Blasters in front against NEUFC. Photo: H. VIBU

 

With the crowd thinning at the Nehru Stadium here – today's count at 12,168 was probably the team's lowest this season - the Blasters needed a win desperately to move up from its ninth spot in the league.

And the home side started well. In the eighth minute, K. Prasanth's attempt from just outside the box was pushed out of danger by NorthEast goalie Subasish Roy.

At the other end, Ghananian Gyan was the man to watch. He looked dangerous as he received a long pass from Lalthathanga Khawlhring in the 20th minute. He was nicely placed, too, as he ran into the box but to the home team's relief, he shot over. Fifteen minutes later, Gyan had a goal disallowed for being offside.

The match lost much of its tempo in the last quarter and in the end, after sharing points, the Blasters stays on the ninth spot with eight points while NorthEast kept its seventh rung with 11.

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