Bengaluru FC captain Sunil Chhetri was left utterly disappointed after his goal against Kerala Blasters created a massive controversy as the opposition team staged a walkout from the knockout game of the Indian Super League 2023 on Friday.
In the 95th minute, Kerala Blasters’ Vibin Mohanan fouled Chhetri in front of the penalty box as BFC got the free-kick. He took the free-kick and scored, sending a right-footed strike into the net.
The goal was given because the referee was aware of Chhetri taking the hit and gave the go-ahead to try the strike.
“I got the free-kick and I saw the opening. I told the referee I neither want the whistle nor do I want the wall.
"He asked me again and I repeated myself. I think Luna was blocking the chance and I think e knew it and yeah, it was one of the days it just goes in,” Chhetri said.
But moments later an unprecedented walk-out followed, a first in ISL, as Serbian coach Ivan Vukomanovic called back his players.
Adrian Luna was seen taking off his captain's arm-band with his teammates following their skipper.
Bengaluru FC were declared the winners as Chhetri's goal separated the two sides. They will now travel to Mumbai City Arena for the semi-final on Tuesday.
"I've never seen in my 22 years of career. I always ask the referee. It was a bitter sweet moment. But I'm happy that we are through to the semi-finals," Chhetri said.
Kerala Blasters are likely to be penalised or even punished for their actions on Friday night.
Such an instance was previously seen during the Kolkata Derby in I-League 2012 when Mohun Bagan walked off the field and refused to turn up in the second half after spectators hurled a stone at their winger Syed Rahim Nabi from the East Bengal stands.