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Kerela salvage goalless draw against NE United

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By EMN Updated: Dec 04, 2014 10:28 pm
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Agencies
Kochi, December 4

Kerala Blasters were held to a 0-0 draw by ten men NorthEast United FC at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium, Kochi. James Keene was sent-off for retaliation as he brushed pushed Michael Chopra to the ground after the latter put in a poor challenge on him. This result leaves Blasters with 16 points, level on points with FC Pune City but are placed fifth due to their poor goal scoring record. NorthEast United’s chances of making it into the top four look slim as they remain seventh on the table with 14 points with only a game to go.
The home side started better as they created a chance in the very first minute. Iain Hume whipped in a cross from the right which was just about cleared for a corner with Milagres Gonsalves lurking.
Five minutes later, Stephen Pearson crossed from the left but Hume’s header went straight into Rehenesh’s arms.
The first real chance came in the 22nd minute when Milagres turned well and slid it across the edge of the box. Pearson struck it with his weaker foot which was comfortably saved by Rehenesh.
However, it was the visitors who could have surged ahead in the 24th minute. From a corner-kick, Miguel Garcia’s header was cleared off the line by Mehtab.
Just after the half hour mark, Hume won a free-kick and James McAllister’s attempt wasn’t too far away.
Chettri had a chance too as his header went over the bar in the 39th minute. In the first half stoppage time, Felipe de Castro smashed in a shot from the edge of the box after Keene laid it for him but Nandy was equal to the task as he denied the Brazilian.
Ten minutes into the second half and Kerala Blasters had the first chance. Hengbart sent in a ball towards the fast where Pearson’s side-volley from close range was skied over, much to the disappointment of David James.
The Team in Yellow created a couple of half chances as Hume and Milagres weren’t on the same wavelength on multiple occasions in the final third.
In the 64th minute, Milagres cut back from the right and sent a ball to the top of the box which was met by Pearson whose shot was eventually blocked by Garcia.
Five minutes later, Blasters came close to scoring but were denied by the woodwork. Chettri who was unmarked in the box, saw his header crash off the upright from a corner-kick as NorthEast United survived the scare.
At the other end, Keene ran onto Kondwani Mtong’s flicked ball and brushed aise Chettri to go one-on-one with the keeper. However, an alert Nandy did well to come off his line to deny the English striker a chance to shoot.
The visitors were down to ten men when Keene was given his marching orders as he reacted violently to a rash challenge by Michael Chopra in the 75th minute.
The best chance of the game fell for NorthEast United. Massamba Sambou played in Mtonga who was through on goal with only Nandy to beat. However, the former Mahindra United goalkeeper cleared the danger before his defense whacked the ball away.
In the stoppage time, Yanes played in Boro on the right who crossed it into the box but it evaded everyone, as Blasters heaved a sigh of relief.
Substitute Andrew Barisic thumped a shot from outside the box but Rehenesh pulled off a sensational save to keep the score-line intact as thus win a point for his side.

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By EMN Updated: Dec 04, 2014 10:28:49 pm