PANJIM: Coach Csaba Laszlo ended his Indian Super League campaign with a 1-1 draw against Kerala Blasters at the Athletic Stadium, Bambolim, on Sunday.
Chennaiyin FC were first to score as early as in 10th minute through Fathkhulo Fatkhulloev but Gary Hooper made it all square just before the half hour mark scoring from the spot.
In the opening quarter it was all about Chennaiyin FC, who started attacking from first whistle. Three attacks in span of three minutes. Had the strikers had done better, the Chennaiyin would have been up by a goal even before they scored in the 10th minute.
Kerala’s Bakary Kone’s header fell to Edwin Vanspaul, who played it over the left flank to find Fatkhulloev. The forward cut inside before unleashing a powerful strike that beat Gomes.
After sustaining a good spell in Chennaiyin territory, Kerala earned a penalty when Deepak Tangri was the culprit of handling the ball in the area. Hooper ensured he converted the spot-kick to get his team of level terms.
Hooper nearly put his team ahead before the break. Lalruatthara diverted Jeakson Singh's lobbed pass into the path of Hooper at the edge of the box. However, his chip shot sailed over the crossbar.
The second half saw more balanced play as both teams had identical possession and passes. They matched each other with much relaxed game plan. Though there were chances being created, it was Vishal Kaith coming with a crucial save to keep the scores 1-1. Hooper’s cross at the far post found Jordan Murray whose header was on target, but Kaith kept it out.
Kerala piled pressure in the closing stages of the game adding more men to their attack which saw Chennaiyin FC reduce to 10 men after Sipovic got his marching orders. Prasanth Karuthadathkuni swiveled away from Sipovic. The defender unwittingly got his stamped Prasanth's foot and the referee deemed that to be bad enough for a second yellow.