Chennai: It was an exciting end to an otherwise dull match that saw two-time Indian Super League finalists Kerala Blasters hold former champions Chennaiyin to a 1-1 draw in a nail-biting finish at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium on Friday.
Kerala though remained winless at the ‘Marina Arena’, but will nonetheless be happy to atleast take home a point from a match that looked destined for a Chennaiyin win after Rene Mihelic had given the home side lead from a penalty in the 89th minute.
Kerala boy CK Vineeth however had other plans. A out-an-out goal machine, the 29-year-old from Kannur has turned into a saviour for the ‘Yellow Army’ this season and today was no different, with the striker scoring a stoppage time goal to snatch a draw from the jaws of defeat.
Searching for their first win at the ‘Marina Arena,’ Kerala could have well gone ahead in the 22nd minute when Courage Pekuson’s lovey ball found an unmarked Jackichand Singh in the box. With the goalkeeper well out of sight, the Indian took some time to settle and size up his shit but fired it above the bar.
Chennayin on the other hand dominated possession in the first-half, but failed to create any clear-cut chances as both sides went into the break with Kerala guilty missing a golden chance to score.
The second-half was as scrappy as the first, with both sides happy to roam the ball around until Kerala captain Sandesh Jhingan was adjudged to have handled the ball in the box after a Francis Fernandes shot went above the bar. Substitute Rene Mihelic stood up and converted giving the home side a goal in their kitty with one minute reamaining on the clock.
Jhingan however made amends minutes later with a fine cross from his own half that found Vineeth’s run and the Kerala boy in the form of his life, made no mistake earning Kerala a hard-fought draw.
Both the sides however looked toothless in attacks for most part of the match that was full of irrelevant fouls and six offsides. In the end it was a thrilling finish as Kerala returned home much more happier with a valuable point from a tough away fixture.