SC East Bengal salvaged a point to stay above Kerala Blasters FC in the 2020-21 Hero Indian Super League (Hero ISL) standings after a 1-1 draw between the teams at the Tilak Maidan Stadium in Vasco on Friday. Jordan Murray broke the deadlock for the Blasters in the 64th minute and Scott Neville headed home the equaliser from a corner in the final seconds of the match.
Kerala Blasters registered the first shot of the match on target in the 6th minute after Murray latched on to a long diagonal ball forward and tested the goalkeeper with a powerful effort. The Kolkata giants retaliated with a shot of their own in the 11th minute through Harmanpreet Singh, whose attempt was saved by Albino Gomes.
Vicente Gomez then had two headed attempts on goal over a six-minute spell, but both his headers were wide of the target to the disappointment of his Kerala teammates. SC East Bengal went on to dominate the ball as the half wore on, however, the score remained 0-0 at the end of it.
Like the first half, Murray had Kerala’s first attempt of the second period in the 49th minute and the Australian’s shot had to be parried away to safety by Debjit Majumder. Gary Hooper also had a clear sight at goal from the edge of the box six minutes later, but the Englishman dragged his attempt wide of the target.
Kerala finally made their momentum count in the 64th minute by taking the lead through Murray. The Australian ran on to a long ball over SC East Bengal’s defence and slotted the ball beyond an outrushing Debjit despite not connecting with his shot cleanly.
SC East Bengal responded by introducing Anthony Pilkington from the bench as they searched for an equaliser. Robbie Fowler’s men continued to enjoy more possession, but they couldn’t quite create any clear-cut chances to level the score.
Pilkington though was making his presence felt on the pitch for SC East Bengal and he tried to level the score in the 81st minute with a powerful shot from outside the box. However, Kerala managed to get bodies in the way of the Irishman’s shot and ensured that it went behind for a corner.
SC East Bengal had a big opportunity to equalise in the 88th minute when an Ajay Chhetri freekick into a dangerous area needed a touch by Aaron Joshua Holloway, who couldn’t quite do the needful. At the other end, a Lalthathanga Khawlhring freekick from the left found substitute Rohit Kumar just outside the SC East Bengal box. Rohit’s shot though was wide of the target to the relief of the Kolkata club.
Holloway then headed a cross from the left into the goalkeeper’s hands in injury time as SC East Bengal continued to push for a leveller. Their persistence was finally rewarded with virtually the last piece of action in the game. The equaliser came through Neville, who rose highest at the far post to head home a Bright Enobakhare corner and rescue a point for his team.
ISL Media Release