Two second-half assists by substitute Seiminlen Doungel inspire hosts to level the match at 2-2
It was Kerala Blasters who played the spoilsport as they surmounted a 2-goal deficit to hold Jamshedpur FC in a thrilling 2-2 draw at the JRD Tata Sports Complex in the 22nd 2018 ISL match.
For the hosts, Tim Cahill, in the 3rd minute and Michael Soosairaj in 31st minute scored two first-half goals. However, Slavisa Stojanovic and CK Vineeth in 71st and 86th minute helped their team earn a well-deserved point.
Jamshedpur’s coach, Cesar Ferrando formulated five changes to his side with Tim Cahill, Sergio Cidoncha, Sanjay Balmuchu, Michael Soosairaj, Raju Yumnam all getting his nod.
And that change seemed to make an instant impact on the host’s fortunes as it took them just 3 minutes to break the deadlock. Lalruatthrara cleared a brilliant attack by JFC for a corner. Cidoncha then took the corner and put a precise cross to the Australian footballing great Tim Cahill, who headed the ball into the back of the net with fair ease. This was his first goal in India.
Kerala Blasters, in reply, tried their best to make a come back into the match after conceding an early goal from the set-piece. They put men forward and piled on the pressure over Jamshedpur midfield. However, they were unsuccessful in breaking into the home side’s staunch defence. Jamshedpur’s midfield did a fabulous job as well, especially the duo of Mario Arques and Memo, to keep the visitors at bay.
They further increased their dominance into the match, after they increased the lead by another goal at the half-hour mark. This time it was another debut goal as Michael Soosairaj scored his first-ever goal in ISL for Jamshedpur FC. The former Chennaiyin FC winger was presented with a ball from Dhanachandra ’s throw-in. With a swift movement, the pacy Soosairaj penetrated into the penalty box from the left and hit the ball with an exotic curl into the bottom corner of the goal.
The score could have gone on to become 3-0, had Cahill put a golden head Soosairaj ’s perfect cross into the goal. He was unable to target his header on the goal from close-range.
Under pressure after a two-goal deficit, coach David James made some important changes to his squad. He brought Cyril Kali in place of Lalruatthara at the left-back position and Sahal Abdul Samad for Keziron Kizito in the central midfield. Those proved to be match-changing changes.
Matej Poplatnik almost put Blasters back in contention when in the 50th minute, he hit the crossbar.-- Advertisement --
Then, in the 55th minute, Sanjay Balmuchu unsuccessfully tackled Slavisa Stojanovic inside the box, gifting the visitors with a penalty. However, Subrata Paul comfortably saved Stojanovic ’s spot-kick.
James made his last substitution of the contest, as Seiminlen Doungel replaced Halicharan Narzary midway. That was another important decision by the coach, as the move seemed to ameliorate an already impressive but misfiring Kerala attack.
Their first goal came in Kerala in the 71st minute when Doungel’s pin-perfect cross into the D met Slavisa Stojanovic who put the ball to bed with fair ease.
The visitors then completed their comeback by scoring an equaliser in the dying minutes of the match. Kerala cleverly took advantage of Jamshedpur defenders’ momentous lapse of concentration. Vineeth did the honours as he tapped in the equaliser from Len Doungel ’s cut-back.
Seiminlen Doungel proved to be the super-sub for the Blasters, as he engineered two assists in second-half.