Kerala Blasters played out an exciting match resulting in a 4-4 draw with FC Goa in their last league stage match less than 24 hours after they qualified for the ISL semi-finals. The showdown, which happened at the Athletic Stadium in Bambolim, saw Aibanbha Dohling (79′) and hat-trick hero Airam Cabrera (49′, 63′ P, 82′) coming off the bench to score for Goa.
Before that, Jorge Pereyra Diaz (10′, 25′ P) showed off with a brace in the first half while substitutes Alvaro Vazquez (90′) and Vincy Barreto (88′) made sure that Blasters earned a point later on. The Blasters finished in 4th place with 34 points while Goa ended their campaign with 19 points, putting them in 9th place.
Fresh off his goal from midweek, midfielder Sahal Abdul Samad turned assist-provider, which is his first of the season. Samad intercepted a ball, which was first passed to Anwar Ali by the keeper. Diaz slid the ball into the net in a timed cross into the box, which broke the deadlock. For the second goal, Anwar found himself at fault again as he lost the ball easily to Chencho, who headed into the box with only the keeper to beat.
The Blasters were gifted a penalty afterwards, courtesy of Tiwari, who tripped the Bhutanese forward. Diaz then sent Tiwari the wrong way, which resulted in his 8th goal of the season, which was also his 2nd of the night and his 4th in the last 3 matches.
The first half basically became a one-sided affair with FC Goa, who only had a quarter ball possession and got no shots on the target. Derrick Pereira initiated three changes and the change of ends gave instant answers.
Ivan Gonzales managed to deflect Edu Bedia’s freekick into space and the ball was guided home to half the deficit by Cabrera, who had just come off the bench. After an hour, Givson brought down Makan Winkle Chothe in the box and gave away a penalty, which Cabrera took to level the scores. This came just minutes ago after Diaz missed a crucial opportunity to score a hat-trick at the other end.
Goa got the lead for the first time that night courtesy of a goal scored by Dohling off a long ball from Anwar. The unmarked Dohling breezed his way into the box and made an angled shot that got past the helpless Prabhsukhan Gill. Cabrera then brought up his maiden ISL hat-trick with help from a cutting pass provided by Devendra Murgaonkar. Afterwards, Vazquez and Barreto got up from the bench and scored a goal each, leveling the scores before the final whistle.