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Indian Player Ratings: Sunil Chhetri shines while Naveen Kumar's stellar performance goes in vain

Written by: Srinivasan

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The game lived up to its expectations in providing late goals as the Blues ground out another three points in Kochi.

In a game where the highlight was the power failure during half-time, Bengaluru decided that they would be the headliners when they edged Kerala Blasters in a 1-2 win in humid conditions in Kochi. A strike from Sunil Chhetri and a fortunate own-goal from Nikola Krcmarevic 10 minutes before the end of regular-time maintained the Steelmen's unbeaten start to the season. Slavisa Stojanovic's first half penalty evened things up for the Blasters temporarily. 

Let's take a look at how the Indian players fared in the game:

Watch: Kerala Blasters 1-2 Bengaluru FC

Kerala Blasters

Naveen Kumar - 7.0

The goalkeeper's animated reaction to Bengaluru's second goal showed just how badly he wanted the win. His saves kept the Blasters in the game, which included a brilliant one-handed one from a deflected Udanta shot. Did not deserve to be on the losing side and David James would be proud of his custodian. 

Sandesh Jhingan - 6.0

The former Bengaluru man was all effort as always and made vital interceptions. Was extremely unlucky as his step up from defence saw Chhetri in an offside position, but was shocked to see the linesman not raise his flag.

Lalruatthara - 6.0

Gave Rahul Bheke a tough time on the left flank and kept a close watch on Udanta. Had trouble on his hands when Kean Lewis was brought on in place of the pacy 22-year-old winger. 

Sahal Abdul Samad - 5.5

The youngster had the difficult task of protecting his defence against a rampaging Bengaluru midfield. The likes of Dimas Delgado, Harmanjot Khabra and Erik Paartalu ran rings around the youngster and he was replaced by Courage Pekuson just after the hour mark. 

Seiminlen Doungel - 5.5

Failed to impress in the first half. Tried to trouble Nishu with his pace on the right flank, but it proved to be a difficult task for the former Bengaluru man. Was replaced by Holicharan Narzary 10 minutes after the hour mark due to an injury. 

Prasanth Karuthadathkuni - 6.5

The youngster gave a good account of himself on the left flank as he had the uncertain Rahul Bheke all to himself. Provided good width on the flank and got into some dangerous positions. Tired eventually in the second half just when Kerala seemed to be gaining an upper hand. 

CK Vineeth - 6.0

Vineeth missed a brilliant oppurtunity

The former Bengaluru favourite would have wanted a goal against his ex-employers. Was a constant presence in the Bengaluru 18-yard box, but was denied by the brilliance of the Blues back four, as they swept away any attempts to find the striker from the flanks. Missed a glorious chance in the second half when he was put clean through on goal, but dragged his shot wide. 

Substitutions

Halicharan Narzary - 5.5

Replaced the injured Seminlen Doungel just after the hour mark, but added some pace to the flank/ However, he was unable to capitalize on Kerala's positive period to find the winner. 


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Bengaluru FC

Gurpreet Singh Sandhu - 6.0

Gurpreet had a decent outing

Had a few nervy moments, but the Indian custodian was a strong presence in the Bengaluru goal and made some vital saves to keep his side in the game.

Rahul Bheke - 4.0

Bheke's vulnerability in the right full-back position is an area of concern for Carles Cuadrat and it is a surprise that Bheke continues to start despite this. Was again put to the sword by Prasanth and Lalruatthara. 

Nishu Kumar- 4.5

The full-back did not have the same trouble as his opposite number, but was responsible for the penalty conceded to Kerala, when he fouled Stojanovic in the box. Had a relatively better outing in the second half, but this is an area that Cuadrat need to analyze closely. 

Harmanjot Khabra - 6.0

Bengaluru needed his energy in the middle of the park in humid conditions as he, Dimas and Paartalu gave the thrust that Chhetri, Udanta and Miku needed to provide a good attacking threat. 

Sunil Chhetri - 7.0

Leave it to the captain to bring in a stellar performance when called for. Opened the scoring with a delightful finish despite being clearly offside and was full of running in extremely tough conditions. Was even seen tracking back late in the game, as others around him tired.  

Udanta Singh - 6.0

Udanta had a wonderful shot saved

A quiet game by his standards. Had his moments where he showed just why he's called the Flash. But, was replaced by Kean Lewis in the second half, as Cuadrat felt the winger was tiring. 

Substitutions

Kean Lewis - 5.5

Replaced Udanta and nearly had an impact as he was seen punting in regular first-time balls and looked to release Miku quicker. Was on hand to recover a loose ball on the right flank and showed good skill to release the striker, who squared it for Xisco's chance that led to the winning goal. 

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Published: Tue Nov 06, 2018 05:27 PM IST

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