ANI Photo | Durand Cup: Bengaluru FC and Kerala Blasters FC share spoils in 2-2 thriller

The spoils were shared between Kerala Blasters FC and Bengaluru FC after the two sides played out a 2-2 draw in the 2023 Durand Cup at the Kishore Bharati Krirangan on Friday.
Justine Emmanuel (14’) opened the scoring for the Blasters but Bengaluru FC hit back with goals Edmund Lalrindika (38’) and Ashish Jha (52’) scored for the Blues before Mohammed Aimen (83’) salvaged a point for Kerala Blasters FC with a late goal.
The first half was dominated by the Blasters but ended all square. KBFC created the first chance of the game which came through captain Adrian Luna. The Uruguayan midfielder’s cross found Emmanuel Justine, who saw his attempt saved by Bengaluru FC custodian Amrit Gope.
They continued to pepper the Bengaluru FC box with boxes, launching one attack after another. Put under pressure by the opposition attack, the opening goal came after a defensive lapse from Bibiano Fernandes’ team.
Bryce Miranda took advantage of a misplaced pass and squared the ball to Vibin Mohanan, who in turn set up Emmanuel. The Nigerian forward squeezes his shot in at the near post to give Kerala Blasters FC a deserved lead. The Blasters continued to create chances and could have added two more goals to their tally had Emmanuel and Farooq converted their chances.
However, Bengaluru FC made their way back into the game, scoring against the run of play. Bekey Oram latched on to a long ball and set up Edmund Lalrindika, who beat the keeper with a low-driven effort.
While Kerala Blasters FC continued to dominate the game after the restart, Bengaluru FC stunned the opposition by taking the lead. Oram released Lalrindika after a quick counter-attack, who threaded a through ball into the box. Muhammed Saheef failed to clear the ball and Jha was quick to pounce on it as he made a swift turn and fired his shot into the far corner.
Ishan Pandita came off the bench in the second half and the young forward posed problems for the Bengaluru FC defence. He nearly came close to scoring the equaliser but directed his header wide from Saurav Mandal’s cross.
The Blasters continued pushing for the equaliser and it didn’t take them long. Substitute Mohammed Aimen provided huge respite to the Blasters with a well-taken goal. Receiving a pass from Adrian Luna at the edge of the box, he drove forward and gently tucked his shot into the far corner.
Ruivah Hormipam was given his marching orders in the 85th minute, but Kerala Blasters FC managed to see the game out in what was a see-saw contest.
The Blasters FC will take on the Indian Air Force in their final group game while Bengaluru FC face group leaders Gokulam Kerala FC.

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