ISL: Chennaiyin ends Jamshedpur's playoff hopes with drab draw

Both teams lacked quality in attack as Jamshedpur squandered a chance to keep the playoff battle alive.

In a rather dull encounter, neither team managed to get a shot on target in the opening 20 minutes.    -  M. Vedhan

If you were to pass by the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium on Saturday evening, there were hardly any obvious signs to suggest a football game featuring the reigning Indian Super League champion was about to get underway. 

Little buzz surrounded the stadium, there were barely any traffic snarls and on a manual count, 100-odd fans queued at the many gates to enter the stadium. Once they did enter the premises, they had little to cheer for as Chennaiyin FC played out a goalless draw against Jamshedpur FC in its final home game of the ISL season.

Needing a win to remain in the hunt for its maiden playoff berth, Jamshedpur FC was expected to play the attacking game and dominate the match. However, what ensued was a rather dull encounter, with neither team managing to get a shot on target in the opening 20 minutes. 

Chennaiyin FC vs Jamshedpur FC: As it happened

The result leaves Chennaiyin at the bottom of the table, but more importantly, ends Jamshedpur's playoff chances and makes Northeast United FC the fourth and final team to enter the playoffs.

The home side had its first attempt on goal when C.K. Vineeth received the ball on the right flank, worked his way into the box and unleashed a fine left-footed strike. But the shot lacked venom and was a routine save for Subrata Paul. This came a minute after Vineeth worked his magic on the ball, turning and twisting his way past three defenders into the attacking third, only to be denied by Augustin Fernandes at the edge of the penalty box.  

The visiting side had a brilliant chance to draw first blood when Sergio Cidoncha threaded a pinpoint cross towards Mario Blasco. The latter nodded the ball goalwards but an alert Karanjit Singh sprang off his toes and dived to his left to pull off a spectacular save. Cidoncha had a go at goal a few minutes later, but the strike failed to trouble Karanjit. At the end of the first 45, there was a grand total of four shots on target.

The second half came to life in the 58th minute when both sides had a chance to go ahead. Anirudh Thapa played a clever through ball to Jeje Lalpekhlua with just the 'keeper to beat, but Jeje went for power and shot straight at Subrata. Cidoncha returned the favour off the next play as he wriggled past his man on the right flank and darted into the box, only to play it straight into Karanjit's gloves.

Chennaiyin FC had a fantastic opportunity to take the elusive lead with ten minutes left on the clock. Isaac raced down the right flank with four men waiting for a cross inside the box. When his meek cross did arrive, Germanpreet Singh got to it first but his header was not even remotely close to the target.

Local lad Michael Soosairaj did find the back of the net for Jamshedpur in the 89th minute, but was found to be in an offside position and the game remained goalless. 

Jamshedpur coach Cesar Ferrando had stated in the pre-match conference that his side's major concern was a lack of quality in its attack, but on Saturday, neither team possessed quality in the attacking third.