SC East Bengal’s search for the first win in the ongoing Indian Super League 2021-22 season continues as they were held to a 1-1 draw by Kerala Blasters FC at the Tilak Maidan Stadium on Sunday.
This was the third consecutive draw between these two teams in the ISL which extends SCEB’s winless streak to six games.
Tomislav Mrcela (37’) opened his account in the ISL by scoring with a header before Alvaro Vazquez (44’) equalised with a well taken shot just before halftime.
Alvaro Vazquez looked to have sent the Blasters into the lead but the referee reversed his decision and disallowed the goal as he blew his whistle before the striker had put the ball past the goalkeeper. Within minutes after that incident, Prabhsukhan Gill made a crucial save, keeping Antonio Perosevic at bay.
There was a dearth of scoring opportunities in the first half until Tomislav Mrcela found the back of the net with his head. The centre-back got on the end of a long throw from Raju Gaikwad and headed the ball past the keeper from close range. KBFC then lost their defender Enes Sipovic to an injury as he left the pitch disappointed and got replaced by Abdul Hakku.
With a couple of minutes to go to halftime, Vazquez’s right footed shot from outside the box took a wicked deflection from Mrcela and went inside the back of the net, pulling the game back to equal terms. Thongkosiem Haokip and Amarjit Singh Kiyam received a yellow card each in the first half for poor challenges.
The second half got off to a cagey start with both teams cancelling each other out and struggling for momentum in the final third. Vazquez attempted a long-range shot late into the second half which was parried away by the goalkeeper. It was the last contribution from the Spaniard as Ivan Vukomanovic sent Jorge Diaz in his place from the bench.
A second goal was disallowed for the Yellow Army on the stroke of 89th minute after Diaz seemingly pushed a defender before heading a cross into the net. The contest ended without any goals in the second half and the points were shared between the two sides.
SC East Bengal will face Khalid Jamil’s NorthEast United in their next fixture on Friday while Kerala Blasters FC has a tough meeting with reigning champions Mumbai City FC on Sunday.
SC East Bengal’s porous defence will have another big challenge against attackers of a resurgent Kerala Blasters FC when the two teams clash in their Indian Super League fixture at the Tilak Maidan Stadium here on Sunday. goals in five matches, the worst among the 11 teams, the red-and-gold brigade have been far from impressive in the top tier league.
The Jose Manuel Diaz-coached side had their best match against Chennaiyin FC when they held the Marina Machans to a goalless draw. But they were back to square one, conceding a 3-4 defeat to FC Goa in their last outing, courtesy SCEB’s porous defence.
Having played half of their matches in the first leg, the bottom-placed SCEB have just two points to their kitty and things can become worse if they’re unable to buck the trend. “We have played 5 matches till now and in some of them, we haven’t converted our chances to win when we had the opportunity,” the SCEB chief coach Diaz said ahead of their match.
ISL 2021-22 SC East Bengal vs Kerala Blasters FC probable XI
SC East Bengal probable starting XI: Suvam Sen, Hira Mondal, Tomislav Mrcela, Adil Khan, Joyner Lourenco, Darren Sidoel, Sourav Das, Mohammed Rafique, Bikash Jairu, Daniel Chima, Antonio Perosevic
Kerala Blasters FC probable starting XI: Albino Gomes, Harmanjot Khabra, Marko Leskovic, Enes Sipovic, Jessel Carneiro, Vincy Barretto, Jeakson Singh, Ayush Adhikari, Sahal Abdul Samad; Adrian Luna, Alvaro Vazquez
East Bengal also put up a strong defence and managed to get away with a draw, the third for both the teams.
Blasters’ goalkeeper Prabhsukhan Singh Gill stood out, stopping many an East Bengal attempt in the match.
Blasters moved up a rung, to seventh, while East Bengal remained at the bottom.
The result: SC East Bengal 1 (Mrcela 37) drew with Kerala Blasters 1 (Vazquez 44).
Today’s match: Hyderabad FC vs NorthEast United FC.