Jamshedpur, Jharkhand: Jamshedpur FC dropped points for the first time in the sixth season of the Hero Indian Super League after a goalless yet action-packed stalemate against Bengaluru FC at the JRD Tata Sports Complex here on Sunday.
There were chances created at both ends with Bengaluru dominating the proceedings, but both goalkeepers’ excellence came to the fore and the attackers were denied goals.
Despite dropped points, Jamshedpur are top of the standings with seven points from three matches. Bengaluru remain winless this season and are seventh, having registered three consecutive draws.
The defences were tested within minutes from kick-off. Sunil Chhetri’s piledriver, which swerved in the air as it travelled towards the goal, was punched away by goalkeeper Subrata Paul. Seconds later, a counter-attack resulted in Sergio Castel having space and time on the ball at the edge of the box, but the striker’s low strike ricocheted off the woodwork.
Bengaluru attempted to put the hosts under pressure with efforts from Juanan and Raphael Augusto helping them test the Jamshedpur defence. In the 20th minute, a Dimas Delgado corner was flicked across goal by Juanan. The ball fell perfectly for Harmanjot Khabra who was denied by Paul with a spectacular reflex save from close range.
Jamshedpur fashioned a chance to score from a corner-kick before the break. Piti received the short corner from the right at the edge of the box, danced past a crowd of Bengaluru defenders before chipping the ball towards the other side of the post, but the cross was aptly cleared away by an alert Bengaluru defence.
The end-to-end affair continued after the break. Ashique Kuruniyan set Manuel Onwu free but goalkeeper Paul won the one-on-one contest and kept the scoreline intact.
After the moment of brilliance in goal by Paul in the first half, his opposite number Gurpreet Singh Sandhu’s reflexes were tested when Farukh Choudhary attempted an audacious bicycle-kick inside the box from a corner but the India No. 1 produced a one-handed save from point-blank range.
Paul was called into action again when Ashique burst forward down the left flank in a quick counter-attack. The Kerala-born winger dribbled into the box and tried to beat the goalkeeper at his near post only for the latter to repel the effort.
In the end, neither team was able to fashion a goal as the match ended in an action-packed stalemate.