In terms of quality of each individual in the squad, Bengaluru FC are far ahead of Kerala Blasters. Bengaluru also have a settled look about themselves and they operate as a unit more often than not. However, Blasters scored over the Blues on both these fronts in Sunday's match. Their head coach (Ivan) Vukomanovic has reasons to be proud of the 1-1 draw.
At the same time, Blasters made inexcusable errors in passing and ball possession. They could orchestrate some promising moves from behind, but on every occasion the midfielders and wingers ran out of ideas in the final third. Alvaro Vazquez is a typical No. 9. His teammates let him down as they failed to feed him pinpoint passes or accurate crosses in the box. On the other side of the pitch, his counterpart Cleiton Silva was getting assist after assist from his teammates. It underlined the fact that Blasters lacked creativity and spark in the final third.
It needs to be acknowledged that Enes Sipovic's towering presence in the backline was crucial for Blasters. He came up with some spectacular tackles and interceptions to deny Bengaluru strikers. Ashique Kuruniyan's goal was a real stunner. He should have won the 'hero of the match' award for that effort, but a silly error in the dying minutes robbed him of that honour.
An own goal is one of the most unfortunate moments in football and legends like Beckenbauer have gone through that pain. Dear Ashique, there is no need to feel sorry or embarrassed for scoring an own goal.
(The writer is a former captain of the Indian football team)