The foreign recruits made the headlines on a quiet night for the domestic talents on both sides.
As the Indian Super League (ISL) returned to action after a big international break, Kerala Blasters and ATK shared the spoils at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium here in Kochi. The scoreline displayed a 1-1 score at full-time and both the goals came in the final ten minutes of the game.
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Watch: Kerala Blasters 1-1 ATK highlights
Here are our ratings for the Indian players who were part of the game:
Dheeraj Singh – 6.5
The U-17 World Cup star pulled off an outstanding top corner save to deny Edu Garcia in the dying minutes of the first half. Dheeraj saved another effort from Andre Bikey in the opening minute of the second.
He kicked the ball in frustration which was understandable as an unnecessary jump by Nikola Krcmarevic made him lose his clean-sheet, when Garcia scored from under the wall from a free-kick in the 84th minute.
Sandesh Jhingan – 6.0
The skipper looked solid for the majority of the first half, barring a sloppy effort which allowed Garcia to take a dangerous shot on goal. Jhingan also came close to scoring in the 40th minute, but a heavy touch ensured a missed chance.
It was a decent performance, if not the best by the defender, as he managed to clear the ball in a couple of dangerous situations in the second half.
Sahal Abdul Samad – 6.5
Sahal was relatively quiet in the first few minutes of the game and his only highlight of the opening half came in the 39th minute, when his attempt on goal was blocked by John Johnson. It was probably Kerala’s best attempt in the first half.
His 66th minute effort scraped just over the bar. Had he been able to keep it low, it would have been a wonderful goal from a long distance. He almost earned an assist in the 73rd minute, when his aerial delivery was headed into the side-netting by Seminlen Doungel.
Seiminlen Doungel – 7.0
A very lively first half by Doungel, as he often dribbled past ATK defenders with unbelievable ease. The 25-year-old was amazing with the ball, but lacked physicality, as he often found himself sandwiched between Bikey and Johnson.
The forward had an equally good second half as he twice came close to scoring, but his volley scraped wide away from the bar and a header hit the side-netting in the 73rd minute. Made way for debutant Baoringdao Bodo.
Lalruatthara needs to improve his touches. On the other hand, he did well while attacking and almost earned an assist, when his flying cross was headed powerfully by Matej Poplatnik, but scraped just wide off the post.
The 24-year-old improved in the second half, as he made seven tackles and three blocks overall. He also earned a yellow card for a clumsy foul on Garcia in the 84th minute.
K Prasanth- 7.0
Prasanth was very active from the right flank, as he put in a couple of good crosses. He deserved an assist for his superb first-time cross for Sahal in the 39th minute, but the midfielder’s attempt was blocked.
It was one of the best performances by Prasanth on the night as almost each and every one of his crosses, whether left or right-footed was inch-perfect. The youngster showed immense quality in attack and was a constant threat from the flank.
Baoringdao Bodo- N/A
The new signing came on in the 78th minute to replace Doungel. However, he wasn’t too involved in the game, as he managed to get only seven touches of the ball.
Pritam Kumar Singh- NA
Came on late in second half injury-time to replace Cyril Kali and did not even get a single touch of the ball.
Arindam Bhattacharya– 6.5
The 29-year-old wasn’t troubled much and had a commanding first half. Arindam was unlucky to lose his clean-sheet in the 88th minute, as Gerson Vieira deflected an effort from Poplatnik, which went straight into the goal and the custodian was helpless.
Otherwise, it was a pretty good performance, as he put in a great effort to save Poplatnik’s shot in the 61st minute.
Pritam Kotal- 6.0
The right-back too had a silent first half, as he wasn’t too involved in the game. Yet, Pritam kept his passes clean, with 78% accuracy in the first 45 minutes. It was a decent outing for the 25-year-old, as he did not make a single error at the back.
Ricky Lallawmawma– 6.0
Ricky didn’t have much to do in the first half, but that cannot be a reason to excuse his poor passing accuracy. For the majority of the second, he was busy covering for Bikey’s mistakes and certainly did so, well. Overall, the left-back made seven clearances, two blocks and an interception, which was a vital one.
Hitesh Sharma– 6.0
Hitesh was a crucial part of the ATK attack, as he had a role to play in almost every move in the first half. Not the best outing by the youngster, but he certainly showed signs of improvement and has everything to become a crucial first-team player for the team from Kolkata.
Jayesh Rane– 6.0
The 25-year-old was a livewire in the ATK attack and paired up well with Hitesh. A good cross in the 26th minute was missed by Kalu Uche. He produced another in the 57th minute, but there was no-one to slot it home. Was eventually substituted off in the 72nd minute.
Pronay Halder- 6.0
Sloppy on a few occasions in the first half, Halder was otherwise as solid as usual. He corrected his erroneous foul on Poplatnik by intercepting the Slovenian’s free-kick in the 19th minute. The stocky midfielder kept a good 75% passing accuracy and while defending, he performed five tackles and an interception too.
Komal Thatal– 6.0
Came in to replace Jayesh in the 72nd minute. Although, Thatal managed to get just six touches of the ball, he did attempt a shot which was ultimately blocked, while the youngster also maintained good passing accuracy.
Eugeneson Lyngdoh- NA
Came on late in the 87th minute to replace Edu Garcia and unfortunately for him, ATK conceded a goal in the very next move.