Bengaluru: Bengaluru FC advanced to the semifinals of the Indian Super League (ISL) after a controversial 1-0 victory over Kerala Blasters FC at the Sree Kanteerava Stadium in Bengaluru on Friday.
Sunil Chhetri scored what proved to be the winner in the seventh minute of extra time to add a ninth consecutive win for his team.
In the seventh minute of extra time, a quickly taken free-kick by Chhetri flew into the back of the net. Blasters forfeited the match in disagreement arguing the players were not ready. Head coach Ivan Vukomanovic took his players off the field and the match was awarded to Bengaluru FC.
The Blues will take on League Shield Winners Mumbai City FC next in a two-legged semifinal on March 7 and 12 which starts with an away trip.
The hosts had six shots in the first half, but only one on target. Three of those shots were attempted by Roy Krishna. The Fijian registered the only shot on target of the half in the 24th minute from a tight angle. Prabhsukhan Singh Gill almost parried it straight into the path of Hernandez, but it was cleared away for a corner from which Krishna failed to keep his header on target.
Three minutes after the half-hour-mark, Danish Farooq’s glancing header from a corner was missed by an unmarked Victor Mongil at the far post before the flag went up for offside against the defender.
The second half was much the same, as the visitors kept more of the ball and the hosts waited to launch on the counter. Blasters had a chance to test the keeper via a free- kick in the 53rd minute, but Adrian Luna skied it. Around the hour-mark, Suresh Wangjam’s effort from outside the box flew through traffic and forced a palm behind for a corner by Gill at full stretch.
In the final quarter of the match, Blasters pressed further up the pitch, but the Bengaluru FC defence kept its shape to deflect attacks. In the 83rd minute, Dimitrios Diamantakos registered his side’s first shot on target but his header was claimed comfortably by Gurpreet Singj Sandhu before the game went into extra time.
(With inputs from ISL Media)