Chennaiyin FC and Kerala Blasters FC shared the honours in their 2015 Hero Indian Super League match with a 1-1 scoreline at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in Kochi on Saturday evening. The scoreline could have been different had it not been for Chennai goalie Karanjit Singh who saved a Josu penalty early in the second half. The goals were scored by Elano and Chris Dagnall either side of the break in the 34th and 46th minutes respectively in front of a 47,852-strong crowd. Kerala fans at last witnessed their side pick up a point after a winless run of four games.
The game also saw Bruno Perone’s game ended prematurely by the referee after he was shown a red card for his transgression against Stiven Mendoza. Kerala dominated the game from start to finish. Dagnall and Mohammed Rafi kept getting into promising areas in the Chennaiyin box, ably assisted by Joao Coimbra and Josu. But the first goal of the match was scored by the visitors through penalty when Sandesh Jhingan brought down Mendoza in the box while vying for a cross and Elano made no mistake from the spot.
Dagnall had come close to scoring for the hosts in the half when a wonderful long ball played to him from defence found him with a chance on goal but Karanjit was equal to the task and thwarted the striker.
Kerala came out with even more zest and verve into the second half and were immediately rewarded with a goal, when a textbook cross from Saumik Dey was brilliantly headed into goal by Dagnall. The visitors were not given enough time to settle in and soon found themselves in a fix again with another penalty pronounced against them. Josu Currias stepped up to take the penalty which he aimed at the bottom right corner but Karanjit guessed right and strongly turned the shot away for a corner. Kerala continued to dominate and only when Perone was given his marching orders, did they show signs of slowing down.
The game eventually ended in a draw. Materazzi’s men could not break into the top half of the table but will take plenty of heart from the immense display of goalkeeping by Karanjit who made sure the visitors didn’t leave empty handed.