A match between Kerala Blasters and Chennaiyin FC was never going to be a dull affair as it proved to be a high tension drama with red card, penalties at either end and a cracking atmosphere by the supporters of the Yellow Army.
Despite all the drama, Chennai failed to take their revenge of last yeara s semi-finals, as Kerala Blaster finally managed to wrestle themselves out of their losing streak. Kerala Blasters, under their head coach Trever Morgan, made the brighter start of the two teams, but Chennaiyin FC against the run of the play, were the first to take the lead after Elano slotted the penalty with aplomb on 34th minute.
Both Chennaiyin FC and Kerala Blasters made three changes to their lineup from their previous match with Alessandro Potenza, Jeje Lalpekhlua, and Sena Ralte made their return for Chennaiyin, while Saumik Dey, Bruno Perone, and Sanchez Watt made their return for the home team.
Chennaiyin FC defender Mehrajuddin Wadoo was forced to make a last ditch tackle to stop Sanchez Watt on the ninth minute, as Dagnall cross nearly reached for Watt to score. Chennayin FC players were forced to shoot from distance, with Stiven Mendoza having a go on the 13th minute and was quite close to breaking the deadlock.
Kerala Blaster would rue their luck on the 25th minute, as Chennaiyin FC goalkeeper Karanjit Singh opted to punch the ball but punched it straight at the path of Bruno Perone, who blasted it both high and wide. Chris Dagnall was next as he miscued his shot under the pressure from the defenders and was easily collected by Karanjit. Dagnall would be cursing his luck, as after having a clear run at the defence he could only muster up a weak shot.
The profligacy of Kerala Blasters was punished by Elano from the spot on the 34th minute, after Mendoza was clumsily brought down in the box by Sandesh Jhingan.
Md. Rafi went quite close on the 44th minute, as his looping header managed to beat the onrushing Karanjit but went narrowly wide of the mark.
Chennaiyin FC went forward with their last attack of the first half as Mendoza with a brilliant back chop to set Thoi Singh free. Thoi a s overlapping run caught the Kerala Blasters defence unaware, and the cross was nearly converted by Elano.
Kerala Blasters, though, had the last attack of the half, as Dagnall again went quite close in search of the equaliser. Dagnalla s persistence was duly paid off within a minute after the second half kickoff, as he converted Saumik Deya s cross to level the score.
Mendoza proved to be quite ineffective today, as he tried his luck from distance but couldna t hit the target on the 47th minute. Three minutes later, Kerala Blasters were awarded a penalty kick, as Chennaiyin FC defenders collided with Peter Ramage to bring him down inside the box. However, the penalty was duly saved by Karanjit. Josua s tame effort was tipped for a corner by Karanjit, to keep the score level.
There was yet some drama in store for us, as Kerala Blasters midfielder Bruno Perone was then sent off for a kick on Mendozaa s face with Mendoza using a bit of theatricality to gain a one-man advantage for his team. Despite this advantage, Chennaiyin FC failed to break the gritty Kerala Blasters defence, who looked quite happy with a point after five matches without a win.
Image Courtesy: . ISL Media