The game went right down to the wire as the stalemate stretched on till the 90th minute.
2 injury time strikes from the BFC forwards secured them another 3 points to finish their last game of the ISL league stages.
Roca experimented with the starting 11 as he played a 4-man defence composed of Rahul Bheke, Erik Paartalu, Nishu Kumar and Subhashish Bose.
As the match progressed, like any other BFC game, Bengaluru could register more attempts than the visiting side in the first half. The blues squandered an opportunity when Sunil Chhetri missed a volley just in front of goal after Miku touched the ball down for him, but the ball only flew into the stands. Constant pressure from the Blues won them lots of balls in the visiting team’s half and kept recycling their attacks.
Another opportunity presented itself when Toni Dovale placed a perfect ball through the Kerala defence for Nishu Kumar, who too couldn’t keep the ball down to see a bulging net as his wayward shot disappointed the massive attendance at Sree Kanteerava Stadium.
Kerala fielded 5 at the back with attacking full-backs, Jackichand Singh and Rino Anto taking over the flanking duties. Arata Izumi and Deependra Singh Negi showed some class on and off the ball as they did a very good job holding the midfield for the Blasters. Wes Brown remained Sunil Chhetri’s shadow until Chhetri gave way for the birthday boy Alwyn George who took no time to start clawing at the Kerala defence.
Boithang Haokip, who had a very good first half, had to be taken off as he extended and stretched his leg too much for an inviting ball into the box and pulled a muscle. Udanta who came on for him also did not give the Kerala defence any breathing space as his precision dribbling and razor-sharp runs kept them on their toes.
The deadlock was broken a minute into the injury time as the debutant Segovia drove a through ball into Miku’s path who was on his way towards Paul Rachubka’s goal. Miku cut the ball in and slotted the ball into the far-right corner finishing the tie.
As Kerala’s hopes for the play-offs were taken away, in less than 2 minutes later, Udanta found a perfect ball from Dimas Delgado and used his pace to leave the 5-man defence looking at his back as he picked a small gap in the Blasters’ goal to drill in a shot. He lifted the roof off of the stadium with that sweet strike.
Bengaluru and Kerala now have played all 18 matches in the league and the derby ended with sunshine in Bengaluru.
BFC, having qualified earlier for the play-off will wait for other teams to finish their designated number of matches to find out who they are facing in the semi-finals of the Hero ISL.