The Indian Super League season 10 gets us underway with a 2-1 win in favour of Kerala Blasters FC against Bengaluru FC at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium. Kerala scored 2 second-half goals to grab all three points from matchday one of the ISL 2023-24 season. It was a frustrating goalless first half for the home fans as they couldn't create enough opportunities for themselves. But they surely came back in the second half and scored two decisive goals which were mostly individual errors. Curtis Main did score a consolation goal at the end for the visitors but nothing changed except the home fans left disappointed on not getting the clean sheet.
The home side started with great intensity as they pushed Bengaluru right from the first minute. They couldn't create any clear opportunities but surely put Bengaluru FC under so much pressure. But slowly, the lack of energy was visible among the players from both teams. It could be the match sharpness or anything but the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium was buzzing on the return of the ISL. Kerala kept position and mostly did sideways passing until Bengaluru tried to hit them on counters. Without their main man Sunil Chhetri, Bengaluru looked toothless. They weren't able to create anything and the match soon became very frustrating for the players. After 30 minutes, it was just physical battles and silly fouls were going on all around the pitch. The first half ended goalless with so much to come in the second half.
A complete turnaround from the home side in the second half. Kerala players looked sharper and fresher than before. Bengaluru also tried to match the intensity and it soon became end-to-end. In the 52nd minute, Peprah took a venomous shot on the turn from the edge of the box. Gurpreet made a brilliant save and tips it over the bar. Then Luna provided a cross inside the box and no one from Bengaluru FC took the initiative to clear the ball. Veendorp, whose body shape was all wrong, tried to get the ball away but the ball struck him and ended up inside the net for an own goal. A horrible way to concede but the home fans' cheer became louder and louder. It was just heaven for Kerala players but surely a hostile atmosphere for the visitors.
After breaking the deadlock, Kerala just cracked open Bengaluru. Parag Shrivas almost made an impact right after coming on for BFC. He got his head to the ball from a corner and the ball almost made his way inside the net. Sachin pushed the ball away in the nick of time to save his team from conceding. Then came Kerala's second goal of the match.
The Indian International, Gurpreet gifted Luna the goal. Damjanovic passed the ball back to Gurpreet. The BFC keeper had a heavy touch and before he knew it, the ball was away from his control. Luna was there to capitalise on the mistake and knock the ball inside the empty net. Some banters were going on between the Kerla Blasters players and the referees. This was in relation to the controversy that happened when both teams met last time when Chhetri's controversial goal led to Ivan Vukomanovic and the KBFC walking off.
Curtis Main scored the consolation goal for Bengaluru FC. It could be the start of their comeback but nothing sort of happened after the goal. The home fans were not happy as they wanted a clean sheet from the fixture but it will be only the three points they will get.