ISL 2021-22 | SC East Bengal and Kerala Blasters FC settle for 1-1 draw

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SC East Bengal and Kerala Blasters FC shared points after a 1-1 draw in the ISL match at the Tilak Maidan Stadium in Vasco, Goa on Sunday. Both goals were scored in the first half as Tomislav Mrcela headed SC East Bengal into the lead before Alvaro Vazquez levelled matters for the Blasters.

Kerala Blasters FC started on the front foot and saw a penalty appeal turned down in the fifth minute when a Blasters attacker went down after a challenge from goalkeeper Sankar Roy but he was adjudged to have won the ball before.

There was drama in the game ten minutes later as the referee awarded the goal to Kerala Blasters FC after Lalthathanga Khawlhring’s shot rebounded off an SC East Bengal defender’s hand into the path of Vazquez who slotted it past the goalkeeper. However, the referee had initially blown the whistle for handball in the build-up to it and hence after discussion with his assistant reversed his decision amid protests from SC East Bengal players.

Leskovic went close with the resultant free-kick that flew just over the crossbar in the 19th minute.

A minute later Antonio Perosevic forced a brilliant save from PS Gill at the other end after he cut back in on his left side and tried to find the corner.

The Blasters took control of the game around the half-hour mark but it was SC East Bengal who drew first blood against the run of play as Mrcela headed home a Raju Gaikwad throw-in at the near post in the 37th minute.

The Kochi-based side then had to replace Enes Sipovic due to injury and brought on Abdul Hakku in the 43rd minute.

A minute later, the Blasters equalised as Vazquez’s shot after cutting in from the left-hand side took a deflection of Gaikwad’s head and flew past the goalkeeper.

The two teams went into the break locked at 1-1 after a fairly even half in terms of opportunities.

Chencho Gyeltshen came on in the second half as Ivan Vukomanovic withdrew Sahal Abdul Samad.

SC East Bengal began the second half brightly putting the Blasters under pressure but couldn’t create an opening of the note as the game became largely tactical.

The two midfielders canceled each other out as neither team could create notable opportunities.

It required something special from either team to make the breakthrough and Vazquez tried to produce that moment in the 77th minute when he tried to chip the goalkeeper from distance but the effort went well over the target.

The game became stretched in dying moments as both teams tried to go for a winner. Persosevic came close as he unleashed a powerful shot that needed saving from the goalkeeper in the 89th minute.

Both teams eventually settled for a point that kept them ticking for the season. SC East Bengal went level on points with Bengaluru FC but remained bottom of the points table. The Blasters though jumped a place into the seventh spot in the standings.

The Blasters’ next assignment is against the league leaders Mumbai City FC next Sunday while the Red and Gold brigade takes on NorthEast United on Friday.

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