Kerala Blasters beat Bengaluru FC 2-1 in ISL opener

kerala blasters Kerala Blasters beat BFC 2-1 | Twitter

Kerala Blasters kicked off their Indian Super League (ISL) season with a 2-1 win over bitter rivals Bengaluru FC at the Kochi Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium on Thursday. An own-goal from Keziah Veendorp broke the deadlock in the second half before KBFC Adrian Luna capitalised on a rare mistake by BFC custodian Gurpreet Singh Sandhu to double their lead.

BFC pulled one back through substitute Curtis Main but failed to find an equalizer in front of a roaring yellow sea at the JNS. The referee added on seven minutes of extrat time, but the home side defended resolutely to walk away with full points. 

Thursday's win was only the fourth victory of KBFC over the Bengaluru outfit from 15 outings. While three clashes ended in a draw, Bengaluru FC ran away with the victory on eight occasions including the last two games in the ISL.

The Blasters kicked off proceedings with Bengaluru fielding as many as four debutants in their eleven.

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

The start of the second half saw the momentum shift back KBFC's way.

Peprah came close to scoring in the 52nd 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 goalkeeper 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.

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 equaliser, but it wasn't to be for the Blues who now travel to Kolkata where they play Mohun Bagan Super Giant on Wednesday. 

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