Kochi, Dec 19: Jewel Raja Sheikh has never taken a shot in the tie-breaker. He has been playing at the highest level of Indian football for last 15 years.
He has represented the junior Indian team and senior Indian squad. But Jewel Raja, the attacking midfielder who still has not received offers from any club in the I-League, took the deciding shot in the tie-breaker against Kerala Blasters in the final of ISL 3.
Jewel when asked why he took the concluding shot, he said: “I am a blind supporter of Cristiano Ronaldo. I have always observed that Ronaldo goes to take the decider always.
"Seeing him doing that, I also asked my coach before the final today that if the match goes to tie-breaker then I will take the last shot.
"I am thankful that our coach Jose Molina that he had responded to my request and allowed me to take the concluding shot.”
When asked about how he managed to keep his cool before the final penalty, he said: “Actually, now my every step on the ground looks like acid-test from tomorrow I am going to be jobless.
"That pain has driven me towards delivering my best in the ISL. Before taking the shot in the tie-breaker I whispered to myself that I must have kept myself cool and score the winner for ATK as this will also be a test for me to prove my mettle in front of the I-League club officials also who are watching this match, either at the ground or through television. So, I took the shot with precision.”
ATK coach Molina was also surprised to have heard that Jewel had scored from a penalty for the first time in his career.
Molina said: “Jewel struck the shot with such precision and coolness that it seemed he has been one of the penalty shoot-out experts in Indian football.
"But I was surprised to have heard later he took the penalty shot for the first time.”