Bengaluru: In what was a game of two polar opposite halves, Bengaluru FC came back from a 2-0 against Kerala Blasters deficit to share the spoils in a 2-2 draw at the Sree Kanteerava Stadium here on Wednesday.
The clash got off to a flier with end-to-end action in the opening minutes. Around the 10th minute, Mohamad Rakip latched onto a ball played down the wing and entered BFC's penalty box in an attempt to play a cutback but was brought down by the outstretched arm of Kean Lewis. Kerala's Serbian forward Slavisa Stojanovic stepped up to the spot and calmly slots it past Gurpreet Singh Sandhu to give the visitors a lead.
The hosts then upped the ante and saw to maximize a good spell of play, but failed to do so as Kerala defended resiliently. The away side hit Bengaluru on the counter and committed numbers forward and constantly found themselves outnumbered at the back. During one of Kerala's many lightning quick counters, Seilminlen Doungel did very well to retain the ball after evading two Bengaluru defenders and found a pocket of space.
The Indian forward then played a daft ball across the box to find an incoming Courage Pekuson who rifled the ball into the top right corner. The Ghana midfielder's shot flew past a helpless Gurpreet as Kerala doubled their lead at the stroke of half time. Kerala's Matej Poplatnik found himself up against the BFC goalkeeper just two minutes later but Gurpreet denied the Slovenian from point blank range.
Bengaluru showed more intent coming on after the restart as they attacked Kerala from different outlets - crosses from the deep, one-twos around the penalty box and overlaps. Kerala withstood all the pressure while tenaciously cutting out passes in midfield and starting dangerous counterattacks.
Carles Cuadrat's introduction of Xisco Hernandez game BFC more control in midfield in the second half as his creativity was helping the hosts break Kerala down. With just under 20 minutes to play, Erik Paartalu launched a cross deep into Kerala's half and found Sunil Chhetri unmarked. The skipper then headed the ball into the box and Udanta Singh pounced onto the cross to head it into the net
. BFC almost ended up surrendering the game due to dangerous moment from Udanta who lost possession in midfield to Doungel. The away side's counter almost led to a goal but BFC was saved by the woodwork....