Kerala Blasters reserves were held to a draw against Mar Athanasius Football Academy at the Maharajas College Ground, Ernakulam after a closely contested match between both teams yesterday. We played our second match of the Kerala Premier League campaign yesterday after a loss against Kerala United in our opening fixture. The team is currently at 5th position in group B.
Head coach T.G Purushothaman made four changes in the starting eleven from our first match against Kerala United FC. The lineup included Sachin Suresh, Bijoy V, Salahudeen Adnan k, Shahajas T, Asif O.M, Roshan Gigi, Suraj Chhetri, Nihal Sudeesh, Yoiheneba Meitei, Praful Kumar, Sreekuttan V.S whereas Birendra, Muhammed J, Sanoop C, Rithish, Muhammed B, Muktasana, Beckham Singh, Deep Saha, Christopher on the bench.
Sreekuttan V.S gave us a lead in the 55th minute of the game from a cross by Shahajas. However, MA College striker Muhammed Fayis K scored the equalizer in the 72nd minute. The game initially began with chances being created from our side. Our custodian Sachin Suresh guarded the posts from two consecutive attempts by MA College with fantastic saves in the 13th minute. Eying for a goal, Sreekuttan created a chance in the 20th minute however the goalkeeper saved the shot. The team played attacking football with buildup play from the two flangs. The defense came to the rescue in the 34th minute when MAFA’s Fazil made an off-target shot towards the post.
Further, attempts were made by Roshan Gigi who started his first game of the season. In the 39th minute, Blasters got a brilliant chance to take a lead in the game through Nihal, however, it couldn’t reach it did not end up as a goal. Similarly, an effort was made by Sreekuttan with a header attempt, which went straight into the goalkeeper’s radar.
After a goalless first half, both the teams were striving to find the ball in the back of the net. The coach made his first tactical change as Deep Saha came into the game for Roshan Gigi. After 55 minutes of a goal-less encounter, Sreekuttan V. S netted his first goal for the team from a cross by captain Shahajas.
In the 59th minute, Asif received a yellow card. Coach made his second substitution later in the second half and Muhammed Jiyad came in for Salahuddin, who was having a slight discomfort in the form of an injury during the game. Another yellow card was taken out and this time Surag Chhetri was booked at the 67th minute. In the 71st minute, Deep Saha had a chance to score the second goal from a throw-in by Bijoy, however, it went wide.
In the 72nd minute, MA College found the back of the net with a beautiful goal by Muhammad Fayis who came in as a substitute and equalized the game at 1-1. Furthermore, a yellow card was shown to captain Shahjas in the 81st minute.KBFC got another chance to take a lead in the 85th minute through a combined effort by Nihal and Deep, but it couldn’t change the scoreline.
The final change for our side was when Rithish came in for Praful in the end minute.Rithish was booked for a handball and a free-kick was awarded to the opponents, which also went off. The game after four minutes added to the regular time ended in a 1-1 draw with Asif taking home the Man Of The Match title. The boys will face Golden Threads on the 4th of April Maharajas College Ground, Ernakulam.