Kochi (PTI): It was a season-opener to forget for the former champions Bengaluru FC who suffered a 1-2 defeat to Kerala Blasters FC in the Indian Super League, here on Thursday.
Two defensive errors from Bengaluru (Veendorp OG 52', Luna 70') is what consigned Simon Grayson's men to defeat.
New signing Curtis Main, who was a second half substitute, scored a late goal (90'), but the Blues couldn't stage the comeback they needed.
The Blasters kicked off proceedings with Bengaluru fielding as many as four debutants in their eleven.
Slavko Damjanovic, Jessel Carneiro, Keziah Veendorp and Ryan Williams got their first competitive minutes in a BFC shirt.
Gurpreet Singh Sandhu led Bengaluru out in the absence of Sunil Chhetri, who is away on national duty to the Asian Games.
The Blues' closest chance came in the 35th minute, when Naorem Roshan Singh's long-distance effort caught Sachin Suresh off guard.
But the Kerala goalkeeper managed to parry it away for a corner, as both teams walked down the tunnel at half time with no goals to show for.
The start of the second half saw the momentum shift back Kerala's way.
Peprah came close to scoring in the 52nd minute but Gurpreet managed to fist the ball out.
It was from the resulting corner that the hosts found the lead, with the ball coming off Veendorp's head and past Gurpreet.
Grayson turned to his bench in the 65th minute to try and change things as Curtis Main, Javi Hernandez and Parag Shrivas came on for Aleksandar Jovanovic, Keziah Veendorp and Namgyal Bhutia.
Just when Bengaluru looked to brush away the setback, another error in defence this time from Gurpreet gifted Kerala their second goal of the night.
Picking up a pass from Damjanovic, the Bengaluru goalkeeper got a heavier touch to the ball than he would have liked. An onrushing Luna got to the ball in a flash, before rolling it into an empty net and making it 2-0.
Monirul Molla and Harsh Patre came on for Sivasakthi Narayanan and Rohit Kumar in the 77th minute of the game as Bengaluru looked to find a way back.
Main ate into Kerala's lead late into the game with a simple finish, sparking some hope of a revival.
The fourth official added on seven minutes as Bengaluru continued their search for an equaliser, but it wasn't to be for the Blues who now travel to Kolkata where they play Mohun Bagan Super Giant on Wednesday.
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Mumbai: Dhanya Rajendran, co-founder, and editor-in-chief of The News Minute, has been honored with the 2022 National RedInk Award for 'Journalist of the Year' by the Mumbai Press Club. She received this recognition for leading her team in exposing the tampering of voter data in Karnataka ahead of the 2023 Assembly elections. Independent journalist Sharad Vyas has also been awarded the 'Journalist of the Year.'
The Journalist of the Year Award, an accolade for outstanding journalism in 2022, is a key component of the Redink Awards for Excellence in Journalism, instituted by the Mumbai Press Club 12 years ago. Past recipients include prominent journalists like Srinivasan Jain of NDTV 24X7, Ravish Kumar of NDTV India, Raj Kamal Jha of Indian Express, Faye D’Souza of Mirror Now, and the late Danish Siddiqui of Reuters.
The Mumbai Press Club stated, “Dhanya led a team of journalists who did a series of investigations during the Karnataka elections that confirmed what had been suspected all along – that the election process in India is not always free and fair.”
In November 2022, Dhanya spearheaded The News Minute’s investigation into electoral data fraud in Karnataka, uncovering malpractices ahead of the 2023 elections. The investigation prompted the Election Commission to order a review of voter lists in three constituencies in Bengaluru and led to the arrest of Krishnappa Ravikumar, the director of Chilume, the NGO behind the voter data fraud. Subsequently, the local government prohibited private organizations from collecting voter data.
The Mumbai Press Club’s statement noted, “The investigation uncovered a working prototype of how the electioneering process can be tampered with and then illustrated it through one constituency in Bengaluru to show how voter data was being manipulated.”
Dhanya, with over 20 years of journalism experience, has covered significant and overlooked news stories from South India throughout her career. Her focus on women’s rights, child sexual abuse, politics and elections, climate disasters, and human rights has garnered attention for several important stories at a national level.
Co-recipient of the 'Journalist of the Year' award, Sharad Vyas, "unearthed and published how the Indian Government's Intelligence Bureau imported the spy software Pegasus from an Israeli company, which had been officially denied all along."
Veteran journalist, columnist, and author Neerja Chowdhury received the RedInk 'Lifetime Achievement' award "for her contribution of over four decades as a reporter and analyst of political affairs and government."
The awards ceremony took place at the Royal Opera House in Mumbai on Saturday, December 2, where the honors were presented by Swantatra Senani GG Parikh and former Additional Solicitor General of India Indira Jaising.