The Indian Super League's Final Clash Am Matchday seven faced two winless teams when the ninth-placed Kerala Blasters faced SC East Bengal. Both managers, Kibu Vicuña and Robbie Fowler, were looking for their first impressions of the Indian win and had to change things quickly after such disappointing starts.
There was a fascinating clash and here is what we made of it:  Report
East Bengal started well and almost took the lead in the 9th minute when Haobam Tomba Singh with his weaker left He let his foot fly from outside the box, but Albino Gomes kept him well away. Two minutes later, Costa Nhamoinesu crossed the finish line at the end of a corner when Debjit Majumdar stormed out in vain but his header barely missed the bar.
East Bengal scored the first goal in the 14th minute when Jacques Maghoma Mohammed Rafique pushed his right back and shot it over the gate. Anthony Pilkington was waiting on the other side, but Bakary Koné turned it on.
– Abhranil Roy (@BeerOfBukowski) December 20, 2020
A few minutes later, Maghoma Pilkington was playing in a similar position to Rafique and the Englishman walked towards goal from a tight angle but had a corner kick.
Kerala had another big chance He scored in the 51st minute when Bakary Koné protruded from a corner at the far post but went just wide.
At the other end, Albino Gomes continued to work hard as he had to go sharply down to block Mohammed Rafique's shot from a sharp angle down the right toward the near post.
East Bengal was massively sacked in the 71st minute when Sahal Abdul Samad headed the ball to Jordan Murray after Debjit Majumdar fell off his line to hit a long ball away. The Australian striker hit it for the first time but the goalkeeper somehow got back in time and made sure it didn't hit his net.
– Pranesh Rai (@ pranesh711gr) December 20, 2020
Kerala had another presentable chance in the 83rd minute when Facundo Pereyra was on the edge of the box over a free kick but sent it up.
Four minutes later Anthony saw a quick counterattack. Pilkington placed a ball against Jacques Maghoma, whose curling attempt towards the lower corner was well saved by Albino Gomes.
The hearts of East Bengal were broken in the 94th minute when Sahal Abdul Samad whipped a flank at Jeakson Thounaojam followed a half-cleared corner and the teenager went home.
– Yadu (@ xydrogen18) December 20, 2020
Sahal could have won the match for Kerala when he broke through between two defenders a minute later and scored a pass, but he shot his shot up thanks to a deflection.
With that, Kerala Blasters ran away with a 1: 1 tie.
Key Talking Point
An absolute raid on a point
Kerala Blasters have been in the ISL since season one, but even six years later they don't seem to be able to get things right click. They hit a few finals in the first three seasons, but things have gone downhill since then.
This season they named the I-League winner to lead them to the table, but he's already under pressure. To further the point, Kibu Vicuña made three changes at halftime – an unusually large amount and a clear indication that things were not going as he anticipated.
While Kerala had the majority of the ownership, much of it was spent in their defensive third, which was walking around the back pretty aimlessly. At the sharp end they only managed to get four shots on goal, but late, late they somehow managed to save a point from this match.
– Oswin (@] – Oswin (@] – WarofLeo) December 20, 2020
While you can understand the fighting in East Bengal in the early stages of the season as they adapted to new environments, questions certainly need to be asked of a seasoned team like Kerala. However, this point will certainly be celebrated.
Albino Gomes ( 8.5 * ), Nishu Kumar (5), Bakary Koné (7), Costa Nhamoinesu (7.5)), Jessel Carneiro (5th) , 5), Seityasen Singh (5), Vicente Gómez (6.5), Rohit Kumar (5), Rahul KP (5.5), Facundo Pereyra (7.5), Gary Hooper (5.5)
Subs: Jordan Murray (6), Sahal Abdul Samad (7), Jeakson Thounaojam (7), Lalthathanga Khawlhring (N / A), Sandeep Singh (N / A)
SC EAST BENGAL
Key Talking Point
What do you have to do to win?
East Bengal started their ISL campaign with the longest losing streak ever for ISL newbies in three games, but they eventually managed to earn their first point and even score a few goals last time.
Tonight they almost managed to take a step up when Robbie Fowler's men came excruciatingly close to three points. The start of this game was pretty chaotic as both teams had great chances to score, but for once, East Bengal got a bit of luck when Kerala missed its chances and later scored at their own end to give the Red and Gold Brigade the second lead in two ISL- Play.
They kept their lead well for the remainder of the first half and also for the second half, avoiding a collapse like the one against Hyderabad. While Debjit Majumdar had to make a few heroic saves to keep his goal, his attacking team-mates came in good positions at the other end and could well have added another goal. However, deep in stoppage time, they admitted their winless run and continued.
No matter how well East Bengal does, this first ISL victory is still difficult to achieve.
Debjit Majumder ( 8.5 * ), Surchandra Singh (7)), Scott Neville (6), Daniel Fox (7), Bikash Jairu (6), Sehnaj Singh ( 6.5), Mohammed Rafique (7), Haobam Tomba Singh (6), Matti Steinmann (6.5), Jacques Maghoma (7), Anthony Pilkington (7.5)
Subs: Yumnam Singh (5.5), Wahengbam Angousana (N / A)
What it means:
Kerala Blasters stay in 9th place while SC East Bengal is one point from the base of the table. The second own goal of this ISL season gave East Bengal the lead, the first against East Bengal. However, it was Jeakson Thounaojam's first ISL gate that was at the center of the late drama and stole a point from Kerala.
Keral a Blasters will face Hyderabad FC the following Sunday, while East Bengal SC face Chennaiyin the day before.
Statistics courtesy of Sofascore.com