KhaAshique Kurniyan: the hero and the villainThe latest Indian Super League (ISL) tie between Bengaluru FC and Kerala Blasters FC ended in a 1-1- draw. There was a lot on the line as both teams came into the fixture looking for a win. The game was evenly matched with few scoring opportunities but the last six minutes of the game produced several memorable events.
BFC went into the lead thanks to Ashique Kuruniyan's shot which led to Albino Gomes committing a horrible individual error. However, within minutes later, Kuruniyan scored a shocking own goal by rifling the ball into his own net. There were many underlying issues in both teams' performances and the tacticians must go on the drawing board to resolve them.
The draw had its moments and both outfits will takeaway many important pointers from the fixture along with one point each. Here are the top-five talking points from the clash between Bengaluru FC and Kerala Blasters FC:
Sahal Abdul Samad's season to shine
Sahal Abdul Samad is one of the more experienced domestic players in KBFC despite his age. Ivan Vukomanovic handed the midfielder another start, something he did not get a lot of under previous managers. Clearly, the new boss has faith in the creative midfielder who needs to repay the faith shown by his gaffer. Sahal started the season promisingly with a sublime goal and had a great chance to score another against NorthEast United.
The 24-year-old only has two goals and five assists from 53 matches across five seasons of the ISL. He must use the opportunities well and provide support to Adrian Luna who seems to be the only creative outlet in the attack. Sadly, today he did not come close to scoring as the chances were short and few.
Bengaluru FC struggled going forward
Marco Pezzaiuoli's men struggled to combine well in the final third against the Blasters. Bengaluru had a lot of possession but they were slow in their build-up. The gaffer sacrificed Yrondu Musavu-King to bring in more attacking options with Cleiton Silva starting along with Iman Basafa and Bruno Ramires.
In the first half, despite having 69% of the ball, BFC had two shooting attempts with only one on target. The Blues looked more threatening when Prince Ibarra came on. Perhaps, the gaffer should consider alternatives and start Silva with Ibarra alongside Sunil Chhetri in the No.10 role.
Safe tactics from Ivan Vukomanovic
Shifting back to a 4-4-2 formation looked like an easy option from the gaffer to keep the attacking threat of BFC at bay. The Serbian was clear about stopping goals from going in before the season began and their goalless draw against NEUFC was evident of the strategy the club will follow. However, these decisions may prove to be counter-productive in the long run.
KBFC must use their attacking options and play on the front foot. Playing safe at such an early stage will not sit down well with the fans who expect playoffs qualification at the very least. There is a huge share of responsibility on Luna in the attacking third and a change in formation could relieve some of it.
The absence of Jayesh Rane was apparent
Jayesh Rane was not part of the squad as he is recovering from a concussion picked up in the previous game. The midfielder has started strongly since signing for Bengaluru FC before this season, scoring in the AFC Cup as well. He was one of the scorers in the 4-2 win against NEUFC in the first game of the season.
Rane is a brilliant option in the No.10 role and has the versatility to play multiple positions. His absence is giving Pezzaiuoli an additional headache in terms of team selection. The tactician will hope that Rane becomes available as soon as possible.
Ashique Kurniyan: the hero and the villain
Ashique Kurniyan was involved in both the goals on the night. His shot from long-range led to Albino Gomes mishandling the ball which rolled past the goal line in the 84th minute. It seemed like that the left-back had secured all three points for his team before he undid all the good work on the other end.
The 24-year-old blasted the ball inside his own net on the stroke of the 88th minute while trying to clear an attempt from the opposition player. It was a horrible mistake from Kuruniyan who turned from hero to villain within minutes. Due to that individual error, the tie ended as a draw and the points were shared.