Victory eludes Blasters once again

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The wait for a victory continues for runner-up Kerala Blasters.

Despite dominating the game against newcomer Jamshedpur FC, Blasters could only manage a goalless draw in the Hero Indian Super League at the Nehru Stadium here on Friday. It was the second goalless draw for both teams.

Blasters created more chances and looked a lot better than the side that played last week.

With Hume spearheading the attack in his 48th game, an ISL record, the home team’s big star Dimitar Berbatov played more of a midfield role. And, the tall Bulgarian came up with some perfect passes.

The home boys had a good chance to go ahead in the 10th minute, but left-winger C.K. Vineeth headed over Hume’s promising cross.

Left-back Lalruatthara was a busy man, smartly finding his way up. And in the 15th minute, his lovely cross to Berbatov, near the far post, had the packed stadium roaring. But the Bulgarian star’s tricky shot was well collected by Subrata Paul.

Jamshedpur’s Kervens Belfort, who sparkled for Blasters last year, appeared dangerous on the left. And soon after the half hour mark, the visiting side earned a free-kick after captain Sandesh Jhingan brought the Haitian player down.

Blasters appeared to be in for some trouble but that also brought out the best from goalkeeper Paul Rachubka, who was a picture of confidence throughout the game.

The US-born Englishman thwarted Brazilian Emerson Moura’s shot. An alert Jerry Mawihmingthanga tried to kick it home, but Rachubka was alert once again.

That was Jamshedpur’s best chance in the opening session. Ghana’s Courage Pekuson appeared a bit down in energy levels in the opening half.

Jamshedpur coach Steve Coppell made two quick substitutions shortly after the hour mark, taking out Mawihmingthanga and Anas Edathodika, who appeared to have picked up an injury, and brought in Farukh Choudhary and Bikash Jairu.

Minutes later, Blasters gaffer Rene Meulensteen replaced Hume and Jackichand Singh with Dutchman Markos Sifneos and K. Prasanth.

A long-ranger in the 76th minute by Pekuson was a bit wide, and in the dying minutes, Jamshedpur appeared to have got its match-winner with a Belfort header from the left. But Rachubka saved the day for Blasters.