In their Hero Super Cup 2023 Group A match, bitter rivals Bengaluru FC and Kerala Blasters battled to a 1-1 tie in front of a full house at Kozhikode’s EMS Corporation Stadium. The Blues advanced safely to the semifinals after earning the point.
Bengaluru FC started the match with the intention of taking control of the situation, and Roy Krishna gave them the lead in the 23rd minute. However, Kerala Blasters, who were cheered on by a sizable crowd of 22,565 fans, roared back with the goal of Diamantakos Dimitrios in the 78th minute.
The match lived up to expectations, with both teams showcasing some exquisite examples of teamwork. Bengaluru FC got the game going quickly, controlling possession for the first 10 minutes.
The first genuine opportunity to score in the game belonged to Naorem Roshan Singh, who once more displayed his amazing potential on the evening. The 24-year-old took a shot on goal after dribbling past three Kerala Blasters players, but his attempt was blocked by the custodian.
The Bengaluru defence was kept busy by the Blasters, who charged on the break. Saurav Mandal had a good shot from the edge of the box in the 16th minute, but Gurpreet Singh Sandhu easily stopped it.
In the middle of the park, Javi Hernandez, though, was the star. From the center, the Spaniard drove Bengaluru’s machine with his unmatched skill and poise.
Simon Grayson’s team took the lead in the 23rd minute thanks to his entrancing flick and a ball that split the opposition. Krishna poked the ball in after removing the custodian. Bengaluru made it 1-0 before an oncoming Victor Mongil could clear it off the line.
But in the 33rd minute, the Spanish defender produced one of the tournament’s boldest blocks. He placed his head on the line of an approaching shot from Krishna that appeared destined for the goal.
Both teams kept the ball going from one wing to the other in quest of a breakthrough while continuing to play some excellent passages. To the pleasure of the Blues, RoundGlass Punjab FC also went ahead against Sreenidi Deccan FC in the 41st minute on the strength of a header from Valpuia.
Vibin Mohanan found space in the attacking third right before halftime and drove for the goal, giving Bengaluru a scare. The score stayed 1-0, though, when the midfielder’s soaring shot fell directly into Gurpreet’s palms.
Kerala Blasters appeared to be attacking with more ferocity after switching sides. The men in yellow launched rounds of assaults that kept the onlookers moving. Gurpreet stopped Diamantakos Dimitrios’ potent free-kick effort in the 50th minute.
The Bengaluru custodian made one too many saves in a 15-minute period. Rahul KP and Nishu Kumar’s aerial and ground manoeuvres were both rejected by him. But in the end, it was the Blasters’ constant offensive that proved successful.
In the 77th minute, right flanker Nihal Sudeesh made the decisive play. Diamantakos headed in the loose aerial ball that resulted after the young attacker’s cross inside the area received a deflection to tie the score.
Bengaluru once more escaped a scare from Diamantakos in the last moments of the game. The ever-present Gurpreet was in the ideal position to deflect the Greek forward’s powerful close-range strike away from harm.
RoundGlass Punjab, thankfully for them, and the Blues both persevered till the very end. As a result, Bengaluru has advanced to the Hero Super Cup 2023 semifinals, joining Jamshedpur FC.