In a matter of four minutes, Ashique Kuruniyan scored twice — his goals at either end meaning Bengaluru FC and Kerala Blasters FC ended up sharing the spoils in a 1-1 draw at the Athletic Stadium in Bambolim on Sunday.
Ashique (84′ and 88′ OG) first scored for BFC via a bad mistake from Albino Gomes in the Kerala Blasters goal, before slamming an attempted clearance into the roof of his own net. Bengaluru now have 4 points from 3 games but Blasters still remain winless, with 2 points in 3.
Marco Pezzauioli, on the back of the 3-1 defeat at the hands of Odisha, changed his midfield up, bringing in Iman Basafa. Cleiton Silva, meanwhile, returned to lead the line. Blasters too had a couple of changes. Puitea featured alongside Jeakson Singh in a double-pivot role as Alvaro Vazquez replaced Jorge Pereyra Diaz.
BFC controlled the ball for large parts early on but Blasters were rarely troubled. Vincy Barretto and Ashique were involved in an intense tussle on the wings. BFC attempted to stretch the play with Sunil Chhetri dropping into the inside left channel and attempting to release Udanta Singh and Ashique down the flanks on the outside
Chances were far and few between, Ashique thwarting Blasters’ best chance in the first half, Sahal Abdul Samad’s dancing feet creating an opening and allowing him to pass into the box.
There were some clumsy attempts from both sides but neither was able to trouble the opposition goalkeeper too much in the first half.
It was a frantic ten minutes after the change of ends. Cleiton and Udanta combining well to threaten the Blasters goal. First the Brazilian shot wide and then lobbed the ball high over the bar. Albino Gomes in fairness, had it covered. Then, it was Udanta’s turn to blaze it wide after running onto a peach of a through ball from Cleiton.
Sunil Chhetri was substituted off at the hour mark, without having any substantial impact on proceedings.
The last ten minutes defined the script of the game. Ashqiue found the ball on the edge of the box. After cutting inside against Khabra, he shot on the angle and a horror spill from Albino Gomes saw the ball go into the net. Moments later, it turned into an anti-climax for him. A cross from the left saw Leskovic cross goalwards but Ashique, instead of clearing, shot right into his own net.