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Indian Super League

ISL 2018-19: Jamshedpur FC and Kerala Blasters need wins, not draws

1:47 AM GMT 30/10/2018
Jamshedpur Kerala Blasters ISL
A tale of two halves saw both teams avoid a defeat but wins are a necessity for title aspirations..

Kerala Blasters registered their third stalemate on the trot when they held Jamshedpur FC at the Furnace on Monday. For the hosts, it was their fourth draw after five games this season. 

A dire first half display by Blasters allowed Jamshedpur FC to gain a two-goal lead but David James' substitutions in the second half allowed the visitors to restore parity towards the end of the game. 

Slavisa Stojanovic and CK Vineeth came up with the goals and substitute Seiminlen Doungel provided the assists to both the goals to help his team end the match on a high. Sure enough, the late fight was admirable and deserves credit but how long can the acceptance for indifferent results go on?

Both sides came under vituperative criticism for their style of play last season and if there are no wins to back the coaches' safety-first approach to games, the supporters will then begin to raise questions over the teams' capability to challenge for the title. 

Jamshedpur have replaced Steve Coppell with Spanish coach Cesar Ferrando and there has been a notable change in their style of football. They have managed to dominate games but have been found wanting at the back on several occasions this season.

The Men of Steel took their feet off the gas after taking a two-goal lead and an increased desire and fresh legs from Blasters undid their good work from the first half. Add a bit of sloppy defending to the mix and it turned out to be an invitation for the visitors to equalise towards the end of the game. 

At the end of the season, second half fights and first half leads will count for nothing. It is three points that matter and both these teams have found them hard to come by.

Interestingly, Kerala Blasters have never won more than two games in a row. However, they were known to eke out wins at all costs under David James in the first season and Steve Coppell in 2016. This doesn't seem to happen anymore. 

Blasters recorded the most number of draws in the league last season (Jamshedpur were second on the list with five draws) and both started the campaign with a series of stalemates. After one win and three draws from the first four games, David James needs to ensure they don't trace last season's path that is destined to end in mediocrity. 

Jamshedpur have now registered four back-to-back games and surprisingly, coach Ferrando said after the match, "Kerala are a strong team. We wanted to win today. Next game is against Goa. They are a big team too. I like to win but if it's a draw, it's a draw. I am happy with it."

A play-off spot won't come easy this season, with the likes of FC Goa, Bengaluru FC, NorthEast United looking like they mean business. If teams want to fight for the title, there should be a zero-tolerance policy for mediocrity on the field.