Resolute ten-man NorthEast hold Kerala to a goalless draw at Kochi
NorthEast United FC held Kerala Blasters FC to a 0-0 draw at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in Kochi on Friday, despite having to play with 10 men for over 60 minutes of the match. The result confirms a fourth-placed finish for the Highlanders and will pit them against table toppers Bengaluru FC in the semi-finals.
The fixture also brought an end to a disappointing Hero Indian Super League (Hero ISL) 2018-19 season for Kerala, who finished ninth in the table with just 15 points from 18 matches.
Poplatnik´s effort from the resulting free-kick took an awkward deflection off the NorthEast wall and narrowly missed the post.
With a man up, Kerala took control of the match and put pressure on the Highlanders defense. Pekuson was unlucky not to have found the net on the 34th minute when his drive from outside the box beat NorthEast goalkeeper Pawan Kumar but came back off the post. With the goal still under threat, Keegan Pereira was the first one to react and made sure he hoofed the ball out of the danger zone.
The home team got yet another chance to score minutes before the half-time whistle. Keziron Kizito embarked on a powerful run and fed Seiminlen Doungel inside the NorthEast box. Pawan Kumar, however, came out bravely to snuff out the danger.
NorthEast United FC will face Bengaluru FC in the two-legged semi-finals on March 7 and 11 respectively. The first leg will be hosted at Guwahati while Bengaluru will be the home team for the return leg.
Club Award – Kerala Blasters FC and NorthEast United FC
Swift Limitless Player of the Match – Rowllin Borges
DHL Winning Pass of the Match – Keziron Kizito
ISL Emerging Player of the Match – Sahal Abdul Samad
Hero of the Match – Lalthathanga Khawlhring
FULL TIME: Kerala Blasters 0-0 NorthEast United
85: Substitution for Kerala Blasters: Seminlen Doungel OUT Boaringdao Bodo IN
84: Yellow card for Prasanth Karuthadathkuni(Kerala Blasters)
81: Substitution for Kerala Blasters - Sahal Abdul Samad OUT Prasanth Karuthadathkuni IN
71: Substitution for NorthEast United FC: Pawan Kumar OUT Gurmeet Singh IN
66: Substitution for NorthEast United FC: Panagiotis Triadis OUT Nikhil Kadam IN
59: Substitution for Kerala Blasters - Cyril Kali OUT Mohamad Rakip IN
46: Second half kicks off...
HALF TIME: Kerala Blasters 0-0 NorthEast United
32: Yellow card for Sandesh Jhingan(Kerala Blasters)
27: Substitution for NorthEast United FC: Girik Mahesh Khosla OUT Fanai Lalrempuia IN
23: RED CARD!! Gurwinder Singh(NorthEast United FC)