Well, well, well. Kerala Blasters, we meet again. Last time was on Friday as they faced Pune, but we’ll get to how that went a little later. This time it’s Bengaluru who come to the 38,000 capacity Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in Kochi.
Guess what, it happened again
Now then, let’s get back to that Pune City match (see, I said we would). I predicted Kerala would pile on the misery for Pune as they looked to end their awful run, but after the match, I think it’s fair to say Pune will feel they should have been the side to take all three points. Marko Stankovic gave the hosts the lead after only 13 minutes. Then karma decided Stankovic can’t have anything nice and he was taken off some ten minutes later with an injury.
The rest of the half was relatively uneventful, i.e no goals. Then Emiliano Alfaro decided to show off his new trademark, missing penalties. His second penalty miss in as many games on the 56th minute was promptly punished by Kerala’s Nikola Krcmarevic who pulled Kerala level five minutes later. And, that meant that was all she wrote from that game and Kerala salvaged a draw.
Bengaluru on track for greatness
As for the guests, Bengaluru, they have continued to kick on after a good start. They are starting to look more and more like proper contenders for the title this season. Their unbeaten run now stretches over a nice four-game period, also known as the entire season so far, following the win over ATK on Wednesday.
But it looked like their nice run would end when Komal Thatal put ATK in front after 15 minutes, However, Miku decided to give Bengaluru a boost into halftime by scoring in added time, just before the teams trudged back to the dressing rooms.
That seemed to wake Bengaluru up as it only took two minutes for Erik Paartalu to “put things right” in the eyes of the travelling fans. And Paartalu’s first goal of the season ended up being the decider and the reason for Bengaluru’s nice fourth place in the table.
They are only one point behind league leaders Jamshedpur, who, due to the scheduling, have three more games under their shorts than Bengaluru. The hosts, Kerala, sit in sixth and could go equal on points with their opponents today should they win, so it’s not all bad despite the seemingly endless amounts of draws they get.
Last season Bengaluru won both encounters, 3-1 in the match at Kerala’s place on New Year’s Eve and 2-0 at home in March this year. And if you look at this season’s results so far, as mentioned above, this should be a nice easy win for Bengaluru.
But Kerala are, as we’ve seen so many times now that it’s almost on the point of getting boring (and me going on about it is probably boring you, dear reader), very good at drawing matches. So even if Bengaluru do win this one, my money is on it being a close encounter.