AUGUSTO RODRIGUES | NT
Jessel Carneiro left Dempo Sports Club to embark on his journey with Kerala Blasters in the Indian Super League (ISL) with one vision – to one day play for India and in his debut match with his new club, he has shown that he does not need spectacles.
“It is the first time I played in front of so many people. They may not have been people from Goa but the support we got was overwhelming, and playing with the twelfth man does make a difference,” Jessel told The Navhind Times over the phone.
Jessel may not have been picked as the star man of the evening of his first match in ISL. Yet, his contribution has left Goa embossed in Kerala. If there are many Keralites in Goa, Jessel has carried Goa on his shoulders to Kerala with his play.
A player shines when the understanding between player and coach peaks and Jessel’s play is underlining an understanding that is making his journey to the India team easier. Against ATK, Jessel played as left back, left winger and controlled the midfield on the left. He looked after the left zone of his team and did it with such versatility that ATK needed to resort to the right.
Jessel has started his ISL season with 50 touches in his first game, almost set in the equaliser and was beaten only once in ninety minutes.
“I am happy that I could give my best. I was not nervous because I love to play football. This is my first game and therefore just my beginning. I want to contribute a lot more for my team. I wanted to create more goal scoring chances and even score goals because my coach has given me the freedom to score,” said Jessel.
Kerala Blasters coach Eelco Schattorie has not pruned Jessel but appears to have given him the freedom to enjoy his game. Jessel is the set piece specialist for Kerala, as he was with Dempo, holds the left of the defence and makes his runs upfront whenever he gets the space. As before, he hardly loses the ball when in possession.
Jessel had one shot; two tackles; and made 31 passes and finished his first game by committing no fouls. India coach Igor Stimac has been having a problem in the defence and with a player of Jessel lacking in the left back position, he could well have found his answer.