The Blues produced a virtuoso counter-attacking display to outclass the hosts on New Year’s Eve.
Kerala Blasters Vs Bengaluru FC, the Southern Derby had its flavours. The packed crowd at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in Kochi witnessed some scintillating actions and it was the visitors who came out triumphant.
It was also described as the battle between Sandesh Jhingan and Sunil Chhetri. While the former was the villain for the home side, the latter turned out to be the hero after the game. Chhetri opened the scoring and Miku scored a brace to ensure Alberto Roca’s side grab all three points. Courage Pekuson scored a consolation goal denying Bengaluru a clean-sheet.
Watch: Kerala Blasters 1-3 Bengaluru FC
Kerala Blasters FC
Subhasish Roy- 7.0
Roy, who made his debut for Kerala Blasters performed brilliantly. He denied several Bengaluru attempts and his saves were marvellous. His debut game would have been impeccable, if he had denied Chhetri from the spot.
Sandesh Jhingan- 5.0
He was the villain for Kerala Blasters. He, who was stern, and tenacious in curbing away Bengaluru FC attacks, conceded an unforced hand-ball, which helped the Blues take the lead from the spot-kick. He played as an attacker in the late minutes, but his attempts to find the equalizer were futile. His absence at the back helped Miku score his first, and Bengaluru’s second. He was nutmegged by Subhashish Bose, whose assist helped Miku grab his brace.
Samuel Shadap- 5.0
This 25-year-old former Shillong Lajong defender had a busy game. Chhetri did well to test him and he was floundering against the India skipper. He did win some tackles though.
The Emerging Player of the match, Lalruatthara contributed to both the defense and the attack. He did his best to thwart the crosses from Udanta Singh and had time to supply balls upfront. However, his game would have been better had he denied Miku from scoring his first.
Siam Hangal- 5.0
Siam Hangal partnered with Wes Brown in the middle to provide Kerala Blasters the edge. However, this former Bengaluru FC midfielder was outplayed in the second half by the tenacious opposition midfielders. He was not the creative player Rene Meulensteen might have wanted him to be.
Jackichand Singh- 5.0
He had a moderate game. He found time to get his crosses into the box, but Bose was strict and alert on his flank, thus denying Jackichand’s pacy counters.
Milan Singh- 4.0
Rene Meulensteen substituted Siam Hangal, and brought in Milan to aggravate the intensity of the attack. However, the midfielder failed to impact the game.
Loken Meitei- 4.0
He was not in the picture for Blasters. The youngster was employed to implement, and accomplish a herculean task and it was a farcical duty for him, especially when he had to outclass the buoyant and vigorous Bengaluru orchestrators.
Gurpreet Sandhu- 6.0
Gurpreet Sandhu was not tested much in this Southern Derby. The stubborn approach of the defenders and the adrift attackers of the home side helped the shot-stopper secure his wall for almost the entie game. However, he was unable to keep a clean-sheet as Pekuson slotted one past him.
Rahul Bheke- 7.0
Flinty and firm at the back for the visitors, Rahul Bheke incorporated well with Juanan to deny a few Blasters attacks. However, akin to that of his teammates, he failed to impede Pekuson’s run into the box in the last minute.
Harmanjoth Khabra- 7.0
Most of Kerala Blasters attacks were concentrated on Khabra’s right flank. The tricky movements from the Blasters players made Khabra flounder, but he was upto the task on many occasions and was able to hinder these attacks from being lethal.
Subhasish Bose- 8.0
The left-back had a dazzling game. He not only obstructed Jackichand on his flank, but also helped Chhetri test and defeat Samuel Shadap on many occasions. He also contributed to Bengaluru’s attack. His name would’ve been there in the list of goalscorers, had the referee allowed his header.
Udanta Singh- 7.0
Udanta, who made it into the team after passing a late fitness test, was active in the game as usual. He used his pace to outclass defenders and to supply balls into the box. Udanta did his best to outrun Lalruatthara and was successful a few times.
Sunil Chhetri- 9.0
Sunil Chhetri Hero of the Match
The Hero of the game, Chhetri lead the line for Bengaluru FC, and looked dangerous throughout the game. He tested Subhasish with some impressive and effective shots, but the debutant keeper was at his best. However, Chhetri put one past him through a penalty.
Lenny Rodriguez- 6.0
Came on for Udanta. Lenny did his defensive part well. He committed a foul in the initial stages, but since then, was upto the mark and functioned brilliantly in helping Bengaluru FC’s defense refute the surging Kerala Blasters attack
Alwyn George- NA
Didn’t play enough minutes to get a rating.