Football

ISL: Kerala Blasters, NEUFC share points

Early strike: Kerala Blasters’ Ogbeche, left, celebrates after scoring against NorthEast United FC.

Early strike: Kerala Blasters’ Ogbeche, left, celebrates after scoring against NorthEast United FC.   | Photo Credit: H_Vibhu

Controversial penalty to the aid of NorthEast United

Was that a penalty?

That was the talking point for a major part of the second half as NorthEast United, down by a goal towards the end of the opening half, came back to hold Kerala Blasters to a 1-1 draw after a controversial penalty in the Hero Indian Super League at the Nehru Stadium here on Saturday night.

That piece of action came five minutes into the second half when referee Rahul Kumar Gupta punished Seityasen Singh for what he thought was a handball. But it appeared to be the midfielder’s head that was in contact as he attempted to deflect a Rakesh Pradhan cross to his goalkeeper and not his hand. And NorthEast striker Asamoah Gyan, who had missed a couple of good chances earlier, converted the penalty with a shot to the right which goalkeeper Rehenesh could do nothing about.

Blasters take lead

The Blasters’ goal, which gave it the lead, also come through a penalty seven minutes earlier. Captain and forward Ogbeche moved into the box after receiving the ball from Mario Arques and goalkeeper Subhasish Roy rushed to thwart the Blasters striker. But in the process, his follow-through appeared to bring Ogbeche down and seconds later, the Frenchman placed the ball neatly to the right corner to give the home side the lead. Subhashish, however, appeared to be very upset with the referee’s decision.

With the crowd thinning at the Nehru Stadium here — today’s count at 12,168 was probably the team’s lowest this season — the Blasters needed a win desperately to move up from its ninth spot in the league.

And the home side started well. In the eighth minute, K. Prasanth’s attempt from just outside the box was pushed out of danger by NorthEast goalie Subasish Roy.

At the other end, Ghananian Asamoah Gyan was the man to watch. He looked dangerous as he received a long pass from Lalthathanga Khawlhring in the 20th minute. He was nicely placed too as he ran into the box but to the home team’s relief, he shot over. Fifteen minutes later, Gyan had a goal disallowed for being offside.

The match lost much of its tempo in the last quarter and in the end, after sharing points, the Blasters stays on the ninth spot with eight points while NorthEast kept its seventh rung with 11.

The result: Kerala Blasters (Bartholomew Ogbeche 43 penalty) drew with NorthEast United (Asamoah Gyan 50 penalty)

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Printable version | Feb 25, 2020 5:12:55 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/sport/football/isl-kerala-blasters-neufc-share-points/article30421540.ece

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