Match after match, waving flags and banners, the Kerala Blasters fans had stood behind their team through thick and thin. It was a joy to watch them. The ‘Yellow Army’ packed the stands as the Blasters walked proudly as the team with the biggest fan base in the Hero Indian Super League.
But on Tuesday evening, with a majority of the Blasters’ fans deciding to desert their team after a string of disappointing results, the stands were mostly quiet. The attendance appeared to be around 6000 despite German legend Lothar Matthaus turning up to watch the game against Jamshedpur FC at the Nehru Stadium here.
In the end, the two shared the points after two second-half goals which came in quick succession. Eleven minutes after Spaniard Carlos Calvo had given Jamshedpur the lead through a penalty, the Blasters’ head coach David James was jumping with joy with Seiminlen Doungel providing the equaliser in the 77th minute for a 1-1 finish.
James’ boys knew they had to lift their game for the fans to return. And they appeared to go all out from the word go. The home side dominated the proceedings and created many good chances with young midfielder Sahal Abdul Samad standing out with some good work early on.
A few minutes after the start, Samad sent a neat pass which cut through the defence but Serbian Slavisa Stojanovic’s shot went wide. And in the 21st minute, Samad was unlucky to see his shot, which foxed goalkeeper Subrata Paul, hit the bar.
AS IT HAPPENED: Kerala Blasters 1-1 Jamshedpur FC
Soon after the half-hour mark, Holicharan Narzary’s shot went over. A few minutes later, Brazilian midfielder Emerson Moura stopped what appeared to be a certain goal from Seiminlen Doungel, from the goalline.
After the series of misses in the opening session, the two goals lit up the game. Just as Jamshedpur’s Australian forward entered the box after a strong run, he was brought down by the home goalkeeper Dheeraj Singh. And Spaniard Carlos Calvo made no mistake with the penalty.
Ten minutes later, Seiminlen Doungel found the net for the home side in a goalmouth melee following a series of passes.
The Blasters suffered a few anxious moments in the injury time when Spaniard Mario Blasco’s header, off a corner, appeared to be on its way home but the home goalkeeper Dheeraj Singh, who had been impressive all through, came up with a flying save.
The result: Kerala Blasters 1 (Seiminlen Doungel 77) drew with Jamshedpur FC 1 (Carlos Calvo 66, penalty).
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