Kerala Blasters FC kicked off the Indian Super League (ISL) 2023 season with a 2-1 win over rivals Bengaluru FC at Kochi's Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium on Thursday, September 21. Seeking revenge for last season's controversial defeat in the South India derby, Kerala were able to put one over Sunil Chhetri-less Bengaluru side to earn three points.
An own goal from?Keziah Veendorp gave Kerala a breakthrough in the early stages of the second half and then star attacking midfielder and team captain Adrian Luna added a brilliant solo goal to stretch the lead to 2-0. Bengaluru were superior in terms of possession and passing accuracy throughout the game and threatened a late comeback when substitute Curtis Main added a goal in the 90' minute. But Kerala's sturdy defence?managed to defend their lead in the extra time (7 minutes) and clinched a deserving win.
Kerala started the game without?Rahul KP and Bryce Miranda while?Sunil Chhetri and Rohit Danu missed for Bengaluru due to their involvement with the national team in the Asian Games 2023. Bengaluru clearly felt Chhetri's absence in the final third as they were able to find the net with just one shot on target in the first half.?
After an own goal from Veendorp, Luna managed to salvage a strike into the open goal. Gurpreet Singh Sandhu made a shocking blunder with a heavy first touch and literally played an assist to opponent skipper Luna's goal. Bengaluru's goal came in the dying stages when last season's sensation?Sivasakthi Narayanan provided a stunning low cross down the left flank in the box where the substitute?striker Main finished calmly to silence?the home crowd.
Kerala Blasters FC Starting Lineup: Sachin, Prabir, Pritam, Milos, Aiban, Daisuke, Jeakson, Danish, Aimen, Adrian Luna (c), Peprah
Bengaluru FC Starting Lineup: Gurpreet Singh Sandhu (c), Roshan, Jovanovic, Damjanovic, Jessel, Bhutia, Rohit, Suresh, Keziah, Williams, Sivasakthi?Narayanan