This post contains affiliate links. “As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.”
Scott Neville’s goal in the last second earned the Reds and Golds a close point against the Yellow Army …
90 + 5 ‘Scott Neville’s goal that earned East Bengal a point against Kerala Blasters was nothing more than poetic justice for him Reds and golds who had lost two points just a month to the same opposition when Jeakson scored late in the match.
The meeting on Friday was a matter from start to finish. However, the fare that was displayed did not really light up the stage. East Bengal had more ball possession in the match, while Kerala Blasters created better scoring opportunities.
35.4% – @KeralaBlasters had 35.4% possession in the match against @sc_eastbengal, his lowest since his game against @bengalurufc in February 2019 (29.4%). Shoddy. #SCEBKBFC #HeroISL #Soccer pic.twitter.com/ArfYMfp7F9
– OptaJeev (@OptaJeev) January 15, 2021
East Bengal took a hit early even before the match started, as Raju Gaikwad was ruled out of the game after he was injured in the warm-up. Rana Gharami came in as a late change in the starting lineup. Gaikwad, who seemed to have adapted well to Fowler’s system, was a mistake for the Reds and Golds, as Gharami looked shaky and restless throughout the game. In fact, Gharami was at fault for not covering for Jordan Murray, who held on to a long goal kick from Albino Gomes to score the first goal.
Plus, it was a rare day off in midfield for Matti Steinmann. The German midfielder who plays a pivotal role in this East Bengal team and controls the pace of the game was not in his usual prime, allowing Kerala Blasters players time and space in midfield.
It could be argued that Steinmann was playing his fourth straight game in just 12 days and fatigue could have played a role in his disappointing start. It was no surprise to see Fowler on the bench in the second half and bring in Anthony Pilkington. This change caused East Bengal to improve a bit in midfield and begin to create more pressure on the Kerala Blasters defense.
However, East Bengal couldn’t really penetrate and score that opener, with the talisman Bright Enobakhare also struggling to get going. They were forced to rely on Neville’s late intervention to snatch a point and extend their unbeaten streak to six games. It’s been a month since Fowler’s team tasted defeat and given the kind of start they got off of, the team has done very well to get to this point.
However, the team’s depth will be put to the test in the coming days as they are scheduled to play four games in 14 days, starting with their match against Chennaiyin on Monday.
The Kerala Blasters defense has come under fire since the beginning of the season, but against East Bengal they looked robust. They managed to keep Bright Enobakhare quiet for most of the game, which some of the most reputable defenders in the league couldn’t in the last few games.
Kerala Blasters played a style of soccer not generally associated with their Spanish coach Kibu Vicuna, who likes to play soccer based on possession and playing from behind. The blasters played long balls most of the time and focused a lot on solidifying their defense rather than attacking with everything.
In the end, it was a fair result for both sides, as neither of them deserved to win that night. There weren’t enough scoring chances from either side and a draw should make both teams happy.