Ashique Kuruniyan turned from a hero to a villain in a matter of four minutes when he found the opposition net but then scored an own goal as Bengaluru FC played out a 1-1 draw against Kerala Blasters in an Indian Super League (ISL) match here on Sunday.
Kuruniyan put Bengaluru ahead in the 84th minute only to do Kerala Blasters a favour four minutes later by scoring an own goal in nightmare of a match for him. Bengaluru now have four points from three games while the Blasters still remain winless.
Marco Pezzauioli, on the back of the 3-1 defeat at the hands of Odisha, brought in more creativity with Iman Basafa being slotted into midfield. Cleiton Silva returned to lead the line.
Blasters too had a couple of changes. Puitea featured alongside Jeakson Singh in a double-pivot role as Alvaro Vazquez replaced Jorge Pereyra Diaz.
Bengaluru remained on top with superior ball possession early on but Blasters had Jeakson Singh almost create a favourable chance under two minutes itself.
Kuruniyan’s pace kept former teammate Harmanjot Singh Khabra on check with Basafa looking settled in dictating play from the centre of the pitch.
However, it was a battle of tactics with the Indian youngsters doing well. Vincy Barretto and Kuruniyan were involved in an intense tussle on the wings.
Bengaluru deployed the idea of stretching the game wide with Sunil Chhetri repeatedly threading the ball onto the flanks for Kuruniyan and Udanta Singh to bomb down the channels.
On the other side, Sahal Abdul Samad showcased some slick moves to beat Roshan Singh and cross inside the box.
But, Kuruniyan was equally adept at defensive duties, clearing off the danger, in the 23rd minute.
There were some clumsy attempts from both sides but neither was able to trouble the opposition goalkeeper too much in the first half.
It was a frantic ten minutes after the change of ends. Cleiton and Udanta combined well to keep Blasters anxious. First, the Brazilian shot wide and then lobbed the ball high over the bar.
Roles were reversed as Cleiton then found Udanta who blazed the ball wide. Surprisingly, Chhetri was substituted off at the hour mark, without having any substantial impact on proceedings.
The last ten minutes defined the script of the game. Kuruniyan found the ball on the edge of the box. After toying with Khabra, he shot on the angle and a spill from Albino Gomes saw the ball go into the net.
Moments later, it was an anti-climax. A cross from the left saw Leskovic pip goalwards but Kuruniyan, instead of clearing, shot right into his own net.