ISL HIGHLIGHTS: Luna takes the night, Kerala Blasters outshine Bengaluru FC in Kochi

It was a season-opener to forget for Bengaluru FC who suffered a 2-1 defeat to Kerala Blasters at the JN Stadium, in Kochi, on Thursday.

In a game where the hosts didn’t pose too dangerous a threat, two defensive errors from Bengaluru (Veendorp OG 52’, Luna 70’) is what consigned Grayson’s men to defeat. New signing Curtis Main, who was a second half substitute, scored a late goal (90’), but the Blues couldn’t stage the comeback they needed. 

The Blasters kicked off proceedings with Bengaluru fielding as many as four debutants in their eleven. Slavko Damjanovic, Jessel Carneiro, Keziah Veendorp and Ryan Williams got their first competitive minutes in a BFC shirt. Gurpreet Singh Sandhu led Bengaluru out in the absence of Sunil Chhetri, who is away on national duty.

The hosts started off the game applying pressure early on. A fairly balanced midfield battle saw Kerala break into the Blues’ final third more often than not, but without anything to show for. Carneiro received the first caution of the game in the 27th minute as he brought Daisuke Sakai to ground close to the edge of the penalty area. 

The Blues grew into the game as the half progressed and their closest chance came in the 35th minute, when Naorem Roshan Singh’s long-distance effort caught Sachin Suresh off guard. But the Kerala ’keeper managed to parry it away for a corner, as both teams walked down the tunnel at half time with no goals to show for. 

The start of the second half saw the momentum shift back Kerala’s way. Peprah came close to scoring in the 52’ minute, but Gurpreet managed to fist the ball out. It was from the resulting corner that the hosts found the lead, with the ball coming off Veendorp’s head and past Gurpreet. 

Grayson turned to his bench in the 65th minute to try and change things as Curtis Main, Javi Hernandez and Parag Shrivas came on for Aleksandar Jovanovic, Keziah Veendorp and Namgyal Bhutia.

Just when Bengaluru looked to brush away the setback, another error in defence - this time from Gurpreet - gifted Kerala their second goal of the night. Picking up a pass from Damjanovic, the Bengaluru ’keeper got a heavier touch to the ball than he would have liked. An onrushing Luna got to the ball in a flash, before rolling it into an empty net and making it 2-0.

Monirul Molla and Harsh Patre came on for Sivasakthi Narayanan and Rohit Kumar in the 77th minute of the game, as Bengaluru looked to find a way back into the game.

Main ate into Kerala’s lead late into the game with a simple finish, sparking some hope of a revival. The fourth official added on seven minutes as Bengaluru continued their search for an equalizer, but it wasn’t to be for the Blues who now travel to Kolkata where they play Mohun Bagan Super Giant on Wednesday.

Bengaluru FC Media Release

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