In what was an action-packed game, Jamshedpur FC held Kerala Blasters to a 1-1 draw.
Kerala Blasters and Jamshedpur FC played out an entertaining draw at Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium, in Kochi. Kerala Blasters started strongly and left Jamshedpur FC to defend. However, it was the visitors who took the lead as Calvo converted from the spot. But, Kerala Blasters brought back parity soon as Len Doungel pulled one back, leveling the cards.
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Watch: Kerala 1-1 Jamshedpur
Jamshedpur FC took the lead through a controversial penalty as Dheeraj’s foul was from outside the box. When asked about this, David James did not hide his frustration. “It is not about blaming individuals for wrong. It has been a constant thing [refereeing erros] this season. This was a game which we should have won. Clearly, we had the best chances. The decision [Dheeraj’s foul on Cahill] was never a penalty. Frustrating [with the result]. Against Delhi, three-point game, an offside goal makes it 1-1. Against Bengaluru, they go 1-0 from offside chance.”
“When we lose another player, hopefully not a serious injury [Keziron Kizito’s] coming up from the first half,” said James hoping that Kizito’s injury is not serious.
James asserted Kerala had the dominance in the game and lauded Sandesh Jhingan. “This is another draw. Yes. This is possibly the best we played. We had goalline clearances, we had crossbars. We had many many chances. We had dominance. We did not really give them much. Sandesh was fantastic on the right,” stated the Englishman.
James claimed that a little more composure would help Kerala win games. He said, “We have lost players because of the commitment. What they did was excellent. A little more composure might be a goal. A little more composure might not be a crossbar. The result is frustrating.”
“The change happened before Chennaiyin [game]. We also changed formation against Chennaiyin. three at the back, which we had done during the pre-season. The second half got better against Chennaiyin. Today, was the continuation, improvement of what we did against Chennaiyin.”
David James has tried different defensive combinations this season and when asked if he would stick with the one he used against Jamshedpur FC, he said, “It is interesting. Sandesh can play left-back, right-back or centre-half, possibly a place he has not played is centre-forward and goalkeeping. Kali can play on left and right. For India, Sandesh plays in the centre. There was not a problem with that.”
He also claimed that Kerala Blasters looked defensively. “I think defensively, we look good. We look solid. For us to minimise the offensive threat, that was a big positive. Frustrating is that we lose points. I am realistic and our team played really well.” answered James.
James also had kind words for Sahal Abdul Samad, who impressed against Jamshedpur FC. He lauded, “The plan was 90 minutes, he has not played 90minutes yet, but that was not the reason. We thought Matej would make the difference. He is a gifted player. He is the future of Kerala Blasters. He gives 100%. You say pressure, he loves it.”
“In the case of Dheeraj, he is a very very young goalkeeper. Having started the first two games and then missing the training. I can’t put players on the pitch if they don’t train. Work needs to needs to be done,” said James when asked about Dheeraj Singh.
“That was part of recruitment. Prasanth has not featured in couple players. They are part of Kerala Blasters’ future. It was a nice balance. The balance with youngsters and seniors. Sandesh is captain. He is 25 years old. You know, it is good Sahal and Dheeraj has got very bright future,” added James.
James was asked if Kerala Blasters still had the chance to qualify to the playoffs. The former Liverpool shot-stopper answered, “If I felt we had no chance, I would put the young players on the pitch so that they get experience. This season we got three defeats, to three of the best teams in the league. We need to improve and we have to win. Frustration is that we end up drawing games which we dominated.”
Meanwhile, Jamshedpur FC coach Cesar Ferrando termed the game as well-balanced. The Spaniard said, “They play at home. difficult match to play away. In the last minute, it was ours. After the last match, a long travel, difficult to play. I think they have three or four chances to score. A match very balanced.”
Jamshedpur FC were forced to make a change in the 13th minute as Soosairaj got injured. The coach confirmed that the player will be sidelined until January. He said, “To recover him, after the break it will be possible to play. Until January, he can’t play. It is a big blow to us.
Only 8451 fans came to watch the game and the coach was asked if boycotting matches was the right way. The Spaniard said, “I feel the supporters are always right. During the match, it is like a family. In front of the rest, I have to help the rest, always. Supporters can be angry, no problem. [In next match] I hope they support Kerala.”
The coach was also asked about the penalty incident. The coach, however, argued that a Kerala Blasters must have received a red card for tackling a Jamshedpur FC player, “I don’t know about the penalty. Some player of Kerala tackled, it is a red card. If you have to analyse penalty, they have to analyse the tackle.”