I-League 2017 Review: Blues left frustrated by resilient Minerva Punjab

Minverva Punjab FC

Sandesh Jhingan competes for the ball with Kareem Omolaja

Following an impressive game of football for those in blue, all it took was one moment of unluckiness for both Amrinder Singh and Sandesh Jhingan as they were undone by some bad bounce as Minerva Punjab equalised with barely a few minutes left to play. However, while the crowds were also left frustrated, it was perhaps the lack of confidence following the previous results that ensured that it would indeed take some time for the Blues to get back to where they should be in the grand scheme of things.

This now means that they have taken just two points from a possible 12. This drop may well be something
The first half saw the Blues squander away a few chances with Punjab defending with all their might. Unlike the previous encounters, there was very little to suggest that this would be a washout at least within the fortress at the very least.

However, despite all of this, there was somewhat of an attacking intent with Roca’s plans on the day, something that he certainly did take into consideration. These considerations eventually saw John Johnson and his defensive partner in crime Juan Antonio rested. What’s more is that they were not even on the bench with Keegan Pereira left to deputize for them if need be.

Udanta Singh

Udanta Singh made life hell for Arashpreet Singh down the left flank

The first half began in earnest for the hosts as they went ahead ad started playing CK Vineeth from the get go. Initially, it seemed as though the long-all tactics would be used. However, with Nigerian Kareem Omolaja being one of the strongest defenders in the league, that tactic was done away with. It however, did not take long to find the weak spot. Once again, this came down the left flank for the Blues as they came down with a few chances with the likes of Udanta Singh and Harmanjot Khabra.

The first half however, saw just the one chance come the way of the hosts as a flurry of skirmishes ended up slamming against the crossbar, something that was the only chance of the first half apart from a penalty shout for CK Vineeth, something that simply did not materialize on the day.

The second half would prove to be more productive for the Blues as they began once again in an attacking frame. It took just seven minutes for Sunil Chhetri to break the shackles and slot one home from a decent distance. The architect of the same was Udanta Singh who had previously setup several chances and was perhaps also far from finished . This goal saw Roca’s position on the sidelines ease up a little as a few substitutions were also made at this time.

CK Vineeth

CK Vineeth Drives deep into the half

However, coming towards the 80th minute mark and the bringing on of Kazakhstan striker Ivan Filatov ensured that the visitors had indeed drawn level. It was a piece of bad fortune for both Sandesh Jhnigan and Amrinder Singh who simply could not deal with the bad bounce of the turf and an amazing cross from Kamalpreet Singh found its way into the back of the net.

Roca then threw on Daniel Lalhimpuia and Mandar Rao Desai who could not get the ball into the net despite their best efforts to make amends for the same. The frustration was written all over Roca’s face when he stated that sometimes, the results simply do not go the way of the side. Perhaps the morale is also something of a problem at the moment, but the fact is that two points from a possible 12 screams that work certainly needs to be done in the grand scheme of things at the very least.

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