Kerala Blasters were purely unlucky on Wednesday as they played out a goalless draw in the Indian Super League (ISL) 2020-21 with Jamshedpur FC. Kerala took a total of 19 shots in the match, two on target and three hit the post, as they failed to bury the ball into the back of the net. Jordan Murray was in the thick of all the action, linking play, getting to the end of many chances but could not finish them.
Murray took the most number of shots in the match but had just one on target, when he forced a save from Jamshedpur FC goalkeeper TP Rehenesh. After the match, Murray was at loss of words and called it a frustrating match for him.
"It's probably the most frustrating match I have played in my career. To come off the park and play like that but not score, I am at loss of words. We had so many chances, Gary was also frustrated that it could only hit the post. But the positive is we were in those positions. We practice more in training and go on for the next game," he said while talking to the broadcasters.
Murray said the mindset of the players could be affected by a draw like this but they have to keep believing in themselves. "We have been unlucky in so many of our games but the mindset of the players can be affected by draws like this rather than a win. It's just about believing in ourselves here."
Kerala had a clear strategy of playing diagonal balls and getting in behind the defenders in order to create goalscoring opportunities and Murray confirmed that it was something they picked from their first leg, which they won 3-2. "We looked back at our first game and we got a lot of chances from in behind and we tried to do the same thing."
Kerala Blasters head coach Kibu Vicuna was not on the touchline after receiving a second yellow in the previous game and assistant coach Ishfaq Ahmed filled in for him. Murray said it was different not having the coach around but they tried to stick to his plans. "It is very different. Not having gaffer there. Having his voice and tactics even at drinks break, it's different. But we tried to do our best, stick to what he told us ahead of the match but it's different to not have the gaffer at the touchline."
Ahmed also admitted that it was not easy for the players with Vicuna out in the stands but said he was glad that they showed motivation and played to win. "They did everything to get the three points but they couldn't and it's disappointing. But I am glad they were really motivated and wanted to win this match, it's not easy without the coach at the sidelines. We go on from here," he said after the match to the broadcasters.
Ahmed said working under Vicuna was a learning experience and that his time to manage a team would come. "It will come sooner or later but I think right now I am learning a lot from our head coach. He is a very good human being and he is teaching me a lot in trainings and my time will come."