Manjappada wished to have Eddie for dinner in Kochi on Monday. Instead, they were served frozen idlis without chutney after the end of a tumultuous 90 minutes that hogged headlines for poor refereeing and below-par display of football.
Bengaluru FC made it three wins out of three against Kerala Blasters but were not at their scintillating best on the eve of Deepavali. Both sides had their chances to score goals but ultimately, it was the team that had the better arsenal up front that sealed the three points. They also seem to have developed a penchant to find wins away from home this season as the Blues added a third win on the trot, keeping their perfect away record intact.
The top story this week has been the standard of refereeing and it took centre stage once again. Sunil Chhetri looked to be offside to most people inside the stadium but it came as no surprise when the linesman, who had struggled to keep up with the last defender throughout the game, failed to raise his flag. The skipper raced into the box past Sandesh Jhingan and slotted the ball home.
Both coaches were visibly upset with the refereeing decisions throughout the game but it was the coach of the team that lost, quite understandably, who commented about the decisions and called for the inclusion of VAR (Video Assistant Referee) in the Indian Super League. Carles Cuadrat did not have an opinion on the performance of the officials and instead claimed that any comments on officials would put pressure on them.
The result would surely put pressure on David James. It was the same fixture last season that led to the sacking of Rene Meulensteen. A 1-3 loss to Bengaluru last season was preceded by four draws, a loss and a win. The results aren't too dissimilar this time around, the team has a win and four draws.
There have been positives for Kerala Blasters despite their unimpressive results. Sahal Samad has been a revelation in the first team fold and Nikola Krcmarevic looks to be a good midfield signing. Stojanovic is a nuisance in the attacking third for defenders.
Against the Blues, Blasters were on the front foot in the final moments of the game and had a golden chance to level the scoreline when Prasanth put CK Vineeth through on goal with a brilliant defence-splitting pass. The Kerala-born forward added to the frustration of his team and the home support when he sent his effort wide with just the goalie to beat.
The defeat was as frustrating as it was familiar for Blasters. When poor refereeing and profligacy combine on a consistent basis, it could spell the beginning of the end for the team's playoff hopes and maybe even for the head coach. The refereeing has to improve but the team's failures in front of goal will only force them down the familiar route from last season.