KOLKATA: East Bengal FC played out a goalless draw with Jamshedpur FC at the Salt Lake Stadium in Kolkata as neither of the two teams could find the breakthrough in an otherwise end-to-end, entertaining action in the opening fixture of the two teams in the Indian Super League (ISL) 2023-24 on Monday. Spanish head coach Carles Cuadrat’s blueprint in the Red and Gold Brigade was apparent as the team functioned incredibly in coordination. Their attacking moves were fluid, often flawless at times, as they attacked the Jamshedpur box from all directions.
The midfield duo of Saul Crespo and Borja Herrera held a stronghold over the proceedings in the centre of the park, with Souvik Chakrabarti playing the role of the perfect foil by distributing the ball precisely to the flanks towards the onrushing wingers Nanda Kumar and Naorem Mahesh Singh.
They delivered several testing lateral deliveries to forward Javi Siverio. The striker, though sharp, often ended up being a touch short of converting the multiple goal-scoring opportunities brought to him by his fellow teammates.
East Bengal’s seasoned fullback duo of Mandar Rao Dessai and Nishu Kumar added pace, power, and creativity on the wings as they carried out their responsibilities on both the offensive and the defensive ends to perfection.
Jamshedpur, on the other hand, took stock of the momentum of the game instantly and adapted their plans accordingly. They were at times compelled to play on the counter but ensured that their offensive endeavours had enough teeth behind them to cause troubles to the East Bengal defence.
Daniel Chima Chukwu probed the home team with his dynamic moves upfront, receiving the ball appropriately in tight spaces and interlinking well with his teammates to break the East Bengal midfield lines amidst their expeditious counter attacks. Scott Cooper’s men touched upon multiple ways to break the deadlock. They initially looked at overloading their midfield and outnumbering the opponent on that front.
When that move didn’t work out, they gradually began shifting out wide, with Swiss winger Alen Stevanovic playing a pivotal role in the same. Midfielder Pronay Halder tried to go against the wind by taking a long-range attempt at goal shortly after half-time, but to no avail. That was followed by similar attempts by Mahesh and Crespo from East Bengal, but the scorers weren’t troubled still.