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Blasters Player Ratings: Rachubka Brilliant, Berbatov In A League Of His Own

Saturday, 25 November 2017|Vineeth Krishnan

Kerala Blasters

While the Kerala Blasters were held to a second successive goalless draw, there were some encouraging signs for the home supporters. Dimitar Berbatov was more involved while it is clear that Paul Rachubka is a fantastic goalkeeper. However, there was little else to really write home about.

Manager Rating:

Rene Meulensteen: 6

Having realised Berbatov was being starved off service playing up front in the first game, Meulensteen gave the Bulgarian the full freedom of the pitch. This ensured the Blasters dominated possession while it was noticeable they were intent on playing the ball out from the back. Like he said post match, it is difficult to implement the attacking brand of football he expects from his team. Meulensteen gets points as much for his conviction in sticking to what he believes in and not resorting to merely hoofing the ball up field in hope.

Player Ratings:

Paul Rachubka: 9

The key man for the Blasters in this game. Rachubka saw his side enjoy plenty of possession but then had to call on all his experience to remain attentive when suddenly thrust into the limelight. A double save from Memo's freekick and Jerry's follow-up was spectacular enough. He outdid even that highlight late on in the piece with a flying parry to deny former Blasters striker Kervens Belfort, a save that the best in the business would have been proud of.

Lalruatthara: 7

Another steady display from the 22-year-old India international. With his side enjoying the majority of the possession, he got forward well down the left causing Souvik Chakraborty a few problems. One shimmy onto his favoured right foot and deep cross presented Berbatov with a decent chance on the volley.

Nemanja Pesic: 8

The Montenegrin was a calming presence throughout the match, even stepping out to join the attack on rare occasions in the second half. Always doing the simple things perfectly, there is a lot Sandesh Jhingan can learn from his partner's positional sense. He has been the real wall at the heart of the Blasters defence in these first two matches.

Sandesh Jhingan: 6

A mixed display from the captain who gave away a spate of unnecessary free-kicks in dangerous situations. One of those nearly led to a goal with Memo's thundering drive a reminder of the perils of giving away dead ball situations just outside the box. Most of Jamshedpur's best attacks came while exploiting the gap between Jhingan and right back Rino Anto.

Rino Anto: 5

Another outing where the local lad's enthusiasm and industry was not matched by his performance. Clearly under orders to push forward, Rino was often caught out by counter-attacks by Jamshedpur. A blessing he had the pace to recover more often than not.

CK Vineeth: 6

A much more encouraging outing from the star of ISL-3 but still lacking in end product. Vineeth is very much a confidence player and last season he would undoubtedly have buried the chance that came his way in the 10th minute. The header from Iain Hume's cross was probably the clearest sight at goal the Blasters had and had it gone in, would have changed the complexion of the game.

Arata Izumi: 5

For most of the 90 minutes, Izumi did not do too much wrong. However, playing just in front of the two centre-backs, with the full backs pushing up at every given opportunity, the little mistakes he did commit always came with the caveat that it would straight away put his side under risk. Tasked with facilitating the build-up from the back, Izumi was caught dawdling on the ball a couple of times leading to promising situations for Jamshedpur.

Courage Pekuson: 5

The Kochi crowd has certainly taken a liking to him after a strong first outing against ATK. However, playing a little deeper than in game 1 to allow Berbatov room to maneuver, the Ghanaian could not effect the game much. One attempted dribble when he looked to take on three defenders in the first half, only to run the ball straight out, summed up his day.

Jackichand Singh: 6

The India international provided width down the right but not much quality with his crosses. With him and Vineeth looking to cut in from the flanks whenever possible, it led to a congested centre of the field, playing very much into the hands of Mehtab Hossain and Co.

Dimitar Berbatov: 9

While everybody around him was busy playing the ISL, Berbatov was still playing the Premier League. For a player famous for drifting in and out of games, this may seem like a criticism but it is not. In a roving display, Berbatov would often come deep, at times deeper than even notional defensive midfielder Izumi, in a bid to unlock the Jamshedpur FC backline. It was good to see the usually reserved striker displaying an emotional streak, challenging Mehtab to try and win the ball off him if he could. Needless to say, Mehtab, nor anybody else in the opposition team, got even close. A goal was all that was missing from a near perfect display.

Iain Hume: 7

Plenty of industry, good hold-up play and decent link-up with the other forwards around him. For the second game running, the Blasters lost momentum following his withdrawal just after the hour mark. Surely not a coincidence.

Substitutes (those introduced after 70 minutes do not get a rating):

Markos Sifneos: 5

Again showed brief glimpses of potential but could not effect the game after replacing Hume in the 67th minute. Would be interesting to see what he can offer from the start if given a chance.

Prasanth K: 4

Brought on for Jacki in the 70th minute, Prasanth got much less joy out of the Jamshedpur defence than he did against ATK. Failed to capitalize on the few times he got into promising situations.

Milan Singh: NA

Came on in the 81st minute to replace Pekuson. Neat and tidy but nothing eye-catching.