Kochi: Kerala Blasters FC settled for another stalemate against Jamshedpur FC, extending their winless run to nine games. Lackluster finishing and a controversial penalty took the game away from the team in yellow who put in a spirited performance at the Jawaharlal Nehru International Stadium here on Tuesday.
The visitors dominated possession early on but the hosts were set up to hit on the counter. The plan worked, except for their lack of quality in the final third. The momentum kept swinging back and forth as both teams went close to scoring.
Keziron Kizito’s lung-bursting run from the halfway line caught Jamshedpur defence on the back foot. Though he failed to get a shot away in time, the ball fell kindly for Sahal whose first-time effort came back off the cross bar.
Malsawmzuala picked Zakeer’s pocket and released Jerry into space inside the box. The nimble-footed winger had the just the keeper to beat but Dheeraj saved with his leg.
Later, Sahal picked out Narzary’s run down the right flank with a stupendous through-ball. The Indian winger’s cross into the box wasn't’t properly cleared and the loose ball was directed towards goal by Seiminlen Doungel but a goal-line clearance by Memo kept the scoreline unchanged
Blasters kept swarming forward creating numerous clear cut chances. In the 61st minute, Sandesh Jhingan’s cross from the right flank found Stojanovic facing his own goal. The striker controlled the ball and turned but skied the glorious chance.
There were moments where it seemed as lady luck had deserted Kerala Blasters following in the footsteps of several members of the yellow army, who had decided not to come to the stadium. There were fewer number of supporters in yellow in the stands with several carrying banners that read “we deserve better”.
Jamshedpur FC took the lead from a controversial penalty on 66th minute.
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Blasters goalkeeper Dheeraj Singh Moirangthem fouled Tim Cahil just outside the penalty box. Referee Rahul Kumar Gupta initially signalled a free kick in favour of Jamshedpur. However, following protests from the Jamshedpur players, he checked with the line referee and pointed to the spot. He also issued a yellow card for Dheeraj.
Carlos Calvo stepped up and fired home in emphatic fashion.
Blasters piled up the pressure and were rewarded for their efforts in the 77th minute. Sahal headed Zakeer’s corner into the box. Stojanovic flicked the ball across the face of goal. Both Tiri and Bikash Jairu failed to deal with it and Doungel pounced to pull the hosts level.
The match became end-to-end affair as both teams tried to take their chances. But a match winning goal eluded them. Blasters keeper made a stellar save in the closing seconds to keep the score at 1-1.
With nine points from 10 games Blasters are at 7th place while Jamshedpur moved to 5th having played a game more than Atlético de Kolkata who are at 6th place with 15 points from 10 games.