Jamshedpur FC’s goal drought seems to have no end, as the debutants played out their third successive goalless draw in as many matches in the fourth edition of the Indian Super League. Playing their first home match at the JRD Tata Complex, the newbies were held to a frustrating 0-0 draw by defending champions ATK on Friday.
Head coach Steve Coppell had predicted that the home fans will see a more attacking intent from his boys and brought in both Sameehg Doutie and Kervens Belfort as a result, but still failed to derive out a result as ATK held on. Youngster Jerry Mawihmingthanga could have well scored thrice but hit the side netting all three times as the ‘Men of Steel’ continued their search for a goal. The away side on the other hand did have the ball inside the net in the 33rd minute, but scorer Hitesh Sharma was ruled offside.
Both the sides had heir chances, with ATK dominating possession in the first half while Jamshedpur dictated terms in the second. It was a game in the middle of the park until the 30th minute, when Tom Thorpe lost the ball to Belfort, who in turn led out a ball to Jerry, but the youngster shot wide.
The away fans got into celebratory mood three minutes later as Hitesh Sharma netted a goal from the rebound after Jamshedpur custodian Subrata Paul failed to collect a long shot from Zequinha. The referee however ruled it as a offside. Jerry then came close moments later, but debutant Jaaskelainen was well at hand to parry it way as the first half drew to an end, goalless.
Hungry for a goal, the home side came roaring into the second half moving the ball forward in numbers, it was however ATK against who nearly again took the lead, when a curled cross from Prabir Das made Robin singh stretch but Indian spiderman Paul pulled out another save, to keep things safe.
Jamshedpur did come close on a couple of occasions as the game progressed but nothing materialised, sending 23, 891 fans home disappointed. Substitute Kuqi had his chance to become a hero three minutes before the final whistle, but fluffed in front of an open goal unmarked, curtaining an end to what was another cagey night for both Sheringham and Coppell who remain winless, having played three matches each.
The home side next face Delhi and will hope to find the doctor soon as a first goal awaits.
Meanwhile two-time champions ATK seems to be having a torrid time as a franchise, having conceded 25 goals in two competitions, while scoring only one. Their youth team was thrashed 8-0 and 13-0 by city rivals East Bengal and Mohun Bagan respectively in the Youth I-League, while the senior team shipped four goals against FC Pune, while scoring one.
Robbie Keane’s return is more than anticipated for the defending champions, who will hope that their marquee man return against Chennai and put on his scoring boots or ATK may well fail to reach the play-offs for the first time in four seasons.