CHENNAIYIN FC played out a 1 – 1 draw with Kerala Blasters FC in Hero Indian Super League (ISL) 2017-18 at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in Chennai on Friday. Rene Mihelic scored from the spot, while CK Vineeth hit back with a last-gasp equaliser.
To begin with, there was not much to choose between the teams as both were content to play the passes around the midfield without charging for any real attack. The first chance came Kerala’s way in the 23rdminute and it was a glorious one that was not taken. Vineeth went on one of his marauding runs on the left flank and fed Courage Pekuson with a deft pass. The Ghanaian in turn squared the incoming Jackichand Singh, and with only the keeper to beat, the latter blasted his shot over the goal.
Chennaiyin had a good chance themselves nine minutes later when they won a free-kick at the edge of the box. Jerry Lalrinzuala’s effort though, sailed harmlessly across the target without giving anyone in the box any chance. That was the last chance of the first half as the teams went into the break goalless.
Ten minutes after the restart, the Blasters nearly got a fortuitous lead. Laruatthara came in from the left and fizzed in a cross that hit Chennaiyin’s defender Mailson Alves. A diving save from Karanjit Singh however, prevented an own goal.
Pekuson then fashioned a chance in the 72nd minute when he hit a powerful shot from just outside the box but Karanjit did well to stretch himself and make the save. Nine minutes from time, and substitute Gregory Nelson also hit a fierce shot from outside the penalty box, and it was met with a smart save from custodian Paul Rachubka.But in the 89th minute, Sandesh Jhingan was deemed to have handled Francisco Fernandes’ shot in the penalty box. Substitute Mihelic stepped up and calmly rolled the ball into goal as Rachubka went the wrong way.Just when it looked like Chennaiyin were going to bag all three points, Kerala scored the equaliser in the last minute of added time. As the Blasters surged forward, Jhingan was fed the ball on the right flank and stretched well to put in a cross towards the centre. It found Kerala’s local boy Vineeth, who smashed the ball home. That proved to be the last action of the match as the teams shared the spoils with a 1 – 1 draw.
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