Defending champions Chennaiyin FC were held to goalless draw by Kerala Blasters at the Jawaharlal Nehru stadium on Thursday.
The draw kept the two-time champions at the eighth position with five points from nine games, Kerala are not far behind either. They stand three points and a place higher from the same number of matches.
— Indian Super League (@IndSuperLeague) November 29, 2018
Billed as the South Indian derby between two of the most resounding fans in Indian football circuit, both Chennaiyin and Kerala have had a topsy-turvy season so far. While Chennaiyin’s last and only victory came after five defeats and a draw, Kerala have drawn four successive game and lost another three on the trot after tasting victory on the opening day of the season.
Back from their defeats to Jamshedpur and NorthEast, Chennaiyin and Kerala looked to snatch momentum before the impending international break and as it goes both sides began the encounter on an attacking note.
But it the home side, who looked better with a flurry of chances coming their way although disappointingly they managed to put none into the net.
Their first proper opportunity was in the third minute when Raphael Augusto found Isaac Vanmalsawma with a brilliant low cross but the youngster failed to hit the target. Then Raphael Augusto headed a cross from Isaac straight into Dheeraj Singh’s hands despite being unmarked and open at the dar post.
But the worst miss of the evening came from Chennaiyin midfielder Thoi Singh in the 33rd minute. Three minutes earlier he had fired a bullet from outside the box that was straight at Dheeraj at goal. Then with the next move, Thoi found Jeje Lalpekhlua, who run across the goal dragged defenders and returned the ball for Thoi to tap-in from close range. But to utter dismay the winger failed to even find the target with his placement.
Kerala, on the other, were chasing the game for the entire of the first half but burst to life in the second half and could have eventually sealed all three points had Seiminlen Doungel’s low shot not crashed outside the crossbar.
Doungel, introduced in place of the injured Nikola Krcmarevic in the 59th minute, was Kerala’s best player on the pitch and was heavily involved in most attacks that through to the opposition box.
But none of them bore the expected fruit and instead it was home team, who came the closest to scoring when a fumble by Dheeraj gave the ball to Andrea Orlandi, who should have really scored from the rebound but disappointingly the Spaniard skied the ball.