Kochi’s Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium was painted yellow but the crowd that turned out might not be too happy about what they got to see. At the end of the ninety minutes, Michael Chopra’s attempt in the first-half remained the best chance that any team could muster for the rest of the match.
While the first half was a free flowing one with very few stoppages, the second half was a complete antithesis. Both teams were making rash challenges that resulted in free-kicks and cards. We will have to wait and see how serious is the injury sustained by Delhi Dynamos’ goalkeeper Antonio Doblas Santana but he didn’t seem very happy with the man against whom he collided, Sandesh Jhingan.
The game began on the balanced note, with Kerala Blasters being the slightly better side in the first half. As the game grew, the Lions started to control proceedings and grew into the game well. At the final whistle, the game ended in a 0-0 draw, with both teams happy to share a point each.Sandesh Jhingan was awarded the man of the match for protecting his goal well and keeping opposition striker Badara Badji out of the game for most of the time.
It was a game of near misses, especially for the home side. Chopra’s miss in the first half was the best chance of the game and the striker will be disappointed with himself for not finding the back of the net. However, both the teams defended solidly to earn a clean sheet with Jhingan being the standout defender of the game. He made some good last ditched challenges to deny the Delhi attackers. In the end, both teams deservedly shared the points after the first stalemate of Hero ISL 2016.
The home side dominated the ball in the opening minutes without managing to create any clear-cut chances on goal. Chopra had the Blasters’ first effort on goal in the 12th minute but failed to hit the target. The Dynamos could have taken the lead against the run of the play in the 21st minute after a Florent Malouda free-kick found Badara Badji in the box. The Senegalese forward tried to guide Malouda’s free-kick goal-wards but couldn’t find a proper connection as the ball trickled over the line for a goal-kick. You can catch the video highlights of the match here.
Steve Coppell’s side picked up a point on home soil as they couldn’t breach the Delhi Dynamos defense…
Kerala Blasters opened their account in the Indian Super League’s (ISL) third edition as they played out a 0-0 draw against Delhi Dynamos at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium, Kochi on Sunday evening. Delhi have four points in their kitty from their travels in southern India while the Blasters haven’t yet scored a goal in over 270 minutes.
Kerala Blasters and Delhi Dynamos opted to make three changes each to their starting lineups from the previous games. Kerala Blasters coach Steve Coppell opted to replace Graham Stack in goal for Sandip Nandy in order to beef up his attack. Elhadji N’Doye and Farukh Chaudhary also made way for Azrack Mahamat and Michael Chopra. The back fourstayed the same from the last match while Azrack and Mehtab were deployed in the centre of the park. Michael Chopra started behind the striker Duckens Nazon while German and Rafique were on the wings.
While the first half was a free flowing one with very few stoppages, the second half was a complete antithesis. Both teams were making rash challenges that resulted in free-kicks and cards. Delhi suffered a blow early in the second half after a nasty clash resulted in Doblas’ withdrawal from the match. The break in play had an effect on the rhythm of the game with both sides taking time to get up to speed following the lengthy stoppage in play. We will have to wait and see how serious is the injury sustained by Delhi Dynamos’ goalkeeper Antonio Doblas Santana but he didn’t seem very happy with the man against whom he collided, Sandesh Jhingan.(ISL 2016 Schedule, Timetable, Fixture, TV Listings, Venues & timings of Indian Super League).
With not many options available, Blasters head coach Steve Coppell had wanted his team to be a flexible bunch and the home team proved to be just that. Left-back Josu Currias Prieto was a tireless worker, racing up the flank frequently and sending very promising passes to Antonio German and the others upfront. German, meanwhile, switched flanks frequently to confuse the opponent. Also,the visitors had two quick chances in the 83rd minute that nearly got them the breakthrough. A Malouda free-kick was met with an intelligent header that was directed towards goal. Sandesh Jhingan, however, stood firm to thwart the danger. Marcelinho then found space in behind Kerala’s back-line soon after but the Brazilian winger’s attempt on goal was blocked by an army of yellow on the edge of the six-yard box. Meanwhile Haiti’s Kevin Belfort, who came in for his compatriot Nazon shortly after the hour-mark, provided a few moments of excitement with his runs down the left flank. He put in a nice cross into the Blasters box after one such run in the 75th minute but Chopra was a trifle late to reach it. Kerala Blasters earned their first point of ISL 2016 but they will be disappointed to go three games without a goal, especially since the home support was magnificent.
Post match awards:
Club Award: Shared by both teams
Fittest Player of the Match – Badara Badji
DHL Winning Pass of the Match – Josu Currais
Maruti Suzuki Swift Moment of the Match – Toni Doblas
ISL Emerging Player of the Match – Mohammed Rafique
Hero of the Match – Sandesh Jhingan