“I don’t know what happened. I’m still trying to figure it out. In 22 years of my career, I’ve never seen this,” Bengaluru FC striker Sunil Chhetri said after his controversial goal resulted in Kerala Blasters forfeiting their ISL knockout match in Bengaluru on Friday.
The playoff descended into chaos when Blasters walked off the pitch in protest after Chhetri scored from a quickly-taken free kick in the first half of extra time. Indian skipper Chhetri stood over a free-kick and as Blasters goalkeeper Prabhsukhan Singh Gill was setting up the wall, Chhetri quickly scooped the ball over the defence and into the net.
The referee awarded the goal and as Bengaluru’s players celebrated in front of their home fans, Blasters’ Serbian coach Ivan Vukomanovic stood with his arms raised before calling his team to the touchline.
Vukomanovic and his players argued with the match officials before walking off the pitch.
Bengaluru players remained on the pitch and waited 20 minutes before the officials awarded the win to the home team.
“We are very happy to be on the happy side of it. We can’t wait to go to Mumbai and play the champions,” added Chhetri.
Bengaluru meet Mumbai City FC in the first leg of the semifinals on Tuesday.
(With inputs from Reuters)