Bengaluru FC 1-0 Kerala Blasters FC [a.e.t]: Chhetri puts Blues ahead with quick free-kick before Tuskers forfeit ISL 2022-23 knockout tie in protest | OneFootball

Bengaluru FC 1-0 Kerala Blasters FC [a.e.t]: Chhetri puts Blues ahead with quick free-kick before Tuskers forfeit ISL 2022-23 knockout tie in protest | OneFootball

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·3 March 2023

Bengaluru FC 1-0 Kerala Blasters FC [a.e.t]: Chhetri puts Blues ahead with quick free-kick before Tuskers forfeit ISL 2022-23 knockout tie in protest

Article image:Bengaluru FC 1-0 Kerala Blasters FC [a.e.t]: Chhetri puts Blues ahead with quick free-kick before Tuskers forfeit ISL 2022-23 knockout tie in protest

Bengaluru FC qualified for the ISL 2022-23 semifinals in controversial circumstances after Kerala Blasters FC forfeited their knockout game at the Kanteerava Stadium on Friday, March 3.

Following a goalless 90 minutes, the match moved into extra time, where Sunil Chhetri's quick free-kick put Bengaluru ahead. Kerala Blasters appealed the call, and once it was clear that the decision would not be overturned, Ivan Vukomanovic called his players off the pitch.

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After a few anxious moments, the full-time whistle was blown, and the match was awarded to the hosts. However, a lot happened prior to that.

ET? Darn it. Thirty more. Oh, wait. Maybe not. Quick free-kick. 1-0. Quicker jolt down the tunnel. Flashlights. Keepy uppies. Roy fancies a lie down. Never done it here before. Clock's ticking. No opposition. Only vibes. On we go. All in a night's work.#BFCKBFC

The Blues got the first opening of the contest in just the third minute. Prabir Das was brought down on the right flank, and Javi Hernandez whipped a dangerous cross into the box. It was attacked by Aleksandar Jovanovic, but his header went wide of Prabsukhan Gill's post.

The Tuskers, meanwhile, were nervous to begin the game, and it showed when Jeakson Singh hacked Hernandez down close to his own area after a cheap giveaway. The Spaniard's effort, however, was blocked by the wall before Roy Krishna fouled Gill while getting a header on goal that was cleared off the line.

Bengaluru went close again in the 14th minute when Prabir brilliantly picked up a half-cleared corner and skipped his way past a defender to get to the by-line. He crossed it for Krishna at the far post, but the Fijian could only hit the side netting.

The Blues largely had Kerala Blasters pinned in their own half for the opening 20 minutes. However, the Tuskers slowly grew into the game, with Adrian Luna driving them forward, often from his own half, and whipping a couple of dangerous crosses into the area.

Simon Grayson's side once again went close in the 24th minute as Rohit Kumar found Sivasakthi Narayanan in the area. The forward, in turn, laid it off for Krishna, who fired an attempt on target, but Gill got low to save it.

Kerala Blasters cleared the ball out for a corner, which was taken by Naorem Roshan Singh. His delivery was superb, and Krishna did well to get past his marker but headed over from point-blank range.

The visitors eventually created their best chance of the first half in the 33rd minute. Luna's cross was flicked on by a Bengaluru defender and came to an unmarked Victor Mongil. However, he couldn't sort his feet out and miskicked the ball.

The hosts, meanwhile, amped up the pressure in the final seven minutes of the half, winning multiple corners. They were denied on multiple occasions by Kerala Blasters' defense, who largely defended well from set-pieces.

It ultimately meant nothing separated the teams on the scoresheet at half-time of this ISL 2022-23 knockout tie.

Kerala Blasters dominate final half an hour, force Bengaluru FC to extra-time

Bengaluru FC got off to a fast start in the second half, creating the first chance after less than three minutes. A quick throw-in allowed Sivasakthi Narayanan to lay the ball off for Naorem Roshan Singh, who lofted the ball into the box, but Javi Hernandez's header went wide of the post.

Kerala Blasters FC's first opportunity of the second half came from a free-kick in the 53rd minute. However, Adrian Luna skied his attempt from a central area some distance over the crossbar.

Close to the hour mark, Bengaluru got their fans out of their seats as the Tuskers struggled to make a routine clearance. The ball was eventually laid off for Suresh Wangjam, who conjured a splendid effort. However, Prabsukhan Gill made one of the saves of the season, diving to his left to deny him.

An attritional 10 minutes with no clear-cut opportunities followed before the Tuskers created another chance. Some neat play following a throw-in allowed Dimitrios Diamantakos to lay the ball off on the edge of the box for Nishu Kumar. However, the right-back slammed his shot well over the crossbar.

Kerala Blasters created another chance in the 83rd minute when substitute Ayush Adhikari got plenty of space on the right to whip a cross in. His delivery was attacked at the far post by Diamantakos, but his header was saved with ease by Bengaluru custodian Gurpreet Singh Sandhu.

Ivan Vukomanovic's men went close yet again three minutes later as some patient build-up play down the right freed Rahul KP. The winger absolutely thumped a cross into the box, but Luna's glancing header went wide of the far post.

Kerala Blasters, evidently in the ascendancy, attacked the opposite wing shortly after as Jeakson Singh played a superb switch to Sahal Abdul Samad. Sahal cut in onto his right foot and attempted a curler, which went well wide of Sandhu's post.

Bengaluru struggled to contain the wave of attacks that came their way one after the other as another well-worked move down the left saw Nishu in acres of space. He took his time before sending a measured cross into the box that was once again headed by Luna, but he could only send it out for a throw-in.

The visitors then chose to control possession in the closing moments as the game, still awaiting its first goal, moved into extra time.

Drama ensues as Chhetri's quick free-kick catches out Kerala Blasters, leads to heated protests

Bengaluru FC began the first period of extra time in much better fashion than how they ended regulation. This led to them getting the first opening as a corner from the left was headed over by Bruno Ramires.

The Blues created another massive opening in the 95th minute when Sunil Chhetri seemingly escaped the offside trap down the right. However, his square pass for Roy Krishna was overhit and missed him entirely.

Chhetri made up for it shortly after in extremely controversial fashion. Referee Crystal John called for a foul close to the edge of the box. As Kerala Blasters looked to set up their wall, Chhetri tried to take the free-kick quickly but was foiled twice by Luna.

The Tuskers forward then moved away, and with Gill still setting up his wall, Chhetri took the free-kick and chipped the unaware Blasters goalkeeper. The referee awarded the goal, much to the frustration of the visiting players.

They surrounded John in dismay, and once it became clear that the goal would stand, Vukomanovic unbelievably called his players off the pitch. While some seemed a little reluctant to come off, they eventually exited the pitch with the clock still running.

The whistle was blown for the end of the first half of extra time, and a while later, Bengaluru were awarded the win in dramatic circumstances.

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