East Bengal FC played out a goalless draw with Jamshedpur FC at the Salt Lake Stadium in Kolkata as the teams shared the spoils in their Indian Super League (ISL 2023-24) season-opener on Monday.
Spanish head coach Carles Cuadrat's blueprint was visible from the get-go as East Bengal were fluid in their play and mounted many an attack on the Jamshedpur goal. 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 foil by distributing the ball to the flanks towards the wingers Nandakumar 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 chances that came his way.
Jamshedpur played on the counter and ensured that their offensive endeavours had enough to trouble the East Bengal defence.
Daniel Chima Chukwu probed the home team with his pacy runs upfront, receiving the ball skillfully in tight spaces and interlinking well with his teammates to break the opposing defence lines. Scott Cooper's men switched strategies in their pursuit of a goal - they first overloaded their midfield and then gradually began shifting out wide, with Swiss winger Alen Stevanovic playing a pivotal role in the same.
Pronay Halder had a go at goal with a long-range effort after halftime, but couldn't find the back of the net. Mahesh and Crespo also had made a couple of attempts but the scoreline remained intact.
Jamshedpur will next take on the Kerala Blasters on October 1, while East Bengal will host Hyderabad FC on September 30.
- Jamal Mohamed