ISL 2017: Victory eludes Blasters once again

Despite dominating the game against newcomer Jamshedpur FC, the Kochi side could only come out with a goalless draw in the Indian Super League at the Nehru Stadium here on Friday night.

Dimitar Berbatov

Dimitar Berbatov was yet again unable to inspire Kerala Blasters in its match against Jamshedpur FC.   -  Special Arrangement


The wait for a victory continues to elude runner-up Kerala Blasters. Despite dominating the game against newcomer Jamshedpur FC, the Kochi side could only come out with a goalless draw in the Hero Indian Super League at the Nehru Stadium here on Friday night. It was the second goalless draw for both the teams.

MATCHCENTRE

The Blasters dominated the opening session, created more chances and looked a lot better than the side that played the opener last week. With Hume spearheading the attack in his 48th game, an ISL record, the home team’s big star Dimitar Berbatov was pushed back and played more of a midfield role.And the tall Bulgarian came up with some perfect passes for the men up front.

The home boys had a good chance to go ahead in the 10th minute but left winger C.K. Vineeth headed over Hume’s promising cross from the right from inside the box.

Left-back Lalruatthara was a busy man, smartly finding his way up. And in the 15th minute, his lovely cross to Berbatov, near the far post, had the packed stadium roaring. But the Bulgarian star’s tricky shot was collected nicely by Jamshedpur goalkeeper Subrata Paul.

MATCH STATS

 

At the other end, Jamshedpur’s Kervens Belfort, who sparkled for Blasters last year, appeared dangerous on the left. And soon after the half hour mark, the visiting side earned a freekick after captain Sandesh Jhingan brought the Haiti player down. The Blasters appeared to be in for some trouble but that also brought out the best out of the home goalkeeper Paul Rachubka, who was a picture of confidence throughout the game.

Diving fully, the US-born Englishman thwarted Brazilian Emerson Moura’s shot but an alert Jerry Mawihmingthanga, well positioned nearby, tried to kick it home. But Rachubka was alert once again as he warded off danger. That was Jamshedpur’s best chance in the opening session.

Ghana’s Courage Pekuson, one of the most impressive players for Blasters in its opener against ATK, appeared a bit down in the energy level in the opening half.

Jamshedpur coach Steve Coppell made two quick substitutions shortly after the hour mark, taking out Jerry Mawihmingthanga and Anas Edathodika, who appeared to have picked up an injury, and brought in Farukh Choudhary and Bikash Jairu. Minutes later, Blasters gaffer Rene Meulensteen replaced Hume and Jackichand Singh with Dutchman Markos Sifneos and K. Prasanth.

With the goal staying elusive, Ghanian Pekuson attempted a longranger in the 76th minute but it was a bit wide.

And in the dying minutes, Jamshedpur appeared to have got its match-winner with a Belfort header from the left. But Rachubka saved the day for Blasters.