The reigning Indian Super League Champions return to Kochi to kick-off Season 4. The team lead by Jordi is as follows:
Debjit Majumder, Prabir Das, Thomas Joseph Thorpe, Jordi Figueras Montel, Keegan Pereira, Rupert Lamlang Nongrum, Conor Thomas, Eugeneson Lyngdoh, Jose Egas dos Santos Branco, Hitesh Sharma and Njazi Kuqi.
The away team kicked off the game as they attacked from the left to right and maintained control of the game. Although the home side kept ATK busy, our defence made it sure to clear the line of danger. The first corner of the game came in our favour. Taken by Keegan, the ball swung to Thorpe and he missed the target.
A real-threatening strike came from our 20-year-old midfielder, Hitesh Sharma as he had a chance in front of the goal! Building our attack from the right flank, Sharma paired up with Zequinha and made his way to the front of the goal, took a shot but straight to Paul Rachubka who makes the save!
We were presented with another chance in the 20th minute as Hitesh once again was involved in the action but this time it was Kuqi's shot that was saved. As the game continued, Rupert was brought down by L'atthara winning us a free-kick. However, Zequinha's shot deflected from Jordi to the keeper. The defending half was not free of any action as Debjit was tested but his custodian instinct drove him to run out of position to punch away an attack by the home side.
The last ten minutes of the first half witnessed both sides fighting to hold possession of the ball while trying to find a goal before the break. We were tested on a few occasions but sure to return the favour.
The first half ended in a goalless draw.
The second half started with no changes on either side.
The Blasters made their presence felt with a series of attacks. Vineeth powered ahead, cut inside from the left into the box and took a shot on goal. Debjit’s save deflected on Pekuson who had no control of the ball as it went wide.
What followed was an attack on our end with corners, free-kicks and another threatening shot by Kuqi before he went out and made way for Robin Singh who came on at the one hour mark.
Zequinha took charged of the attack and brought the heat on the home side on a numerous of occasions - the most significant attempt being the one where his shot curved past the players in the box and hit the woodwork, a pressured Rachubka breathe a sigh of relief.
The 70th minutes period belonged to us as the boys launched one attack after another and Zequinha’s shot was yet again stopped by the keeper. This session also saw Bipin Singh coming on for Rupert who was fantastic on the right flank. Robin made his presence felt as he charged down the flank, found Hitesh with a low pass, who was the nearest to the net. The youngster took an out of position shot with his back heel but failed to perfect the finish.
We entered the last few minutes of the game with much more attacking power but it couldn't convert from the chances that we were presented with ending the game in a draw.
We return home for our next game as we take on FC Pune City on the 26th of November at the Vivekananda Yuba Bharati Krirangan.