Sunday, Feb 25, 2018 | Last Update : 05:25 PM IST
Kerala head coach Rene Meulensteen had been averse to usage of the word ‘drop’ while explaining the changes he made during the first two matches.
Kochi: Kerala Blasters saw their demons in front of goal disappear through a Mark Sifneos goal but were forced into a third consecutive draw after Balwant Singh earned Mumbai City a crucial point at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium here on Sunday.
Dutch striker Sifneos hammered home on 14 minutes, ending nearly 200 minutes of goal drought in Kochi but the home side were denied their first win as Mumbai found a 77th minute equaliser through striker Balwant, who had pounced on a Everton Santos pull back to beat Paul Rachubka.
C.K. Vineeth was sent off late in the match, receiving a second yellow for a dive and Kerala finished their run of three home games unbeaten, but with just three points in the kitty.
Kerala head coach Rene Meulensteen had been averse to usage of the word ‘drop’ while explaining the changes he made during the first two matches. In his opinion it had a negative tone to the otherwise tactical tinkering, yet he couldn’t have possibly instilled more positivity without dropping one of his star players.
Iain Hume,who had two spells of 60 minutes each from the start that were uninspiring by his high standards had made way for the unassuming young striker from Amsterdam, who had showcased just about the right attitude in his substitute appearances to warrant a start.
Yet there was no love lost and Hume eventually came on to a thunderous roar from the crowd as he replaced the goalscorer on 71 minutes.
The home side had started on the front foot and Vineeth had a spring in his steps. An early booking to Davinder, who had replaced an off-colour Raju Gaikwad, offered Vineeth enough freedom on the left flank but the Kerala winger was erratic with his shots. Kerala’s passing had a marked improvement, though Pekuson’s frequent giveaway were unmistakably irksome.
While the game developed along Kerala’s left, with Lalruatthara asserting his influence early on, the surprise came from the other side where Rino Anto had found a pocket.
The former Bengaluru full-back gave a perfect cross that Sifneos guided past a wrong-footed Amrinder while Wadoo was guilty of leaving the striker alone.
Chennaiyin edge Pune
In Pune, Chennaiyin FC got the better of FC Pune City by a solitary goal in an Indian Super League clash to move to the second spot.
A 82nd minute goal from captain Henrique Sereno was enough for the former ISL champions to win their second match on the trot at the Balewadi Stadium.