NorthEast United FC returned to winning ways with a 2-1 win over Jamshedpur FC at the Tilak Maidan on Sunday afternoon, while the Steelmen continue their bad patch.
Jamshedpur FC got the game underway and spared no time to unleash attacks from the first play itself. The squad looked hungry to bag the win right from the kick-off whistle. Owen Coyle’s men entered the pitch with a new formation with David Grande back to full fitness to start a game, sharing the forward position just behind Valskis.
A very close call came in the first 10 minutes for NorthEast United when Aniket lobbed the ball to Valskis who was running towards the goal. Nerka, with a wonderful first touch on his chest, brought the ball to his feet and tried to flick it over the keeper. Unfortunately, the man in goal for NorthEast United, Subhashis Roy Chowdhury came through with a quick save at the near post and denied Jamshedpur FC the lead. The visitors also came through with a number of chances to score, but the defensive line and Rehenesh kept the ball away from hitting the net.
After the players came back from their drinks break, NorthEast United came in with a quick attack from the right flank. The ball was crossed into the box to Luis Machado who made an acrobatic attempt on target with a scissor kick, but it was denied by Rehenesh with a successful dive. However, it did not take long for NorthEast United to take the lead that they were aiming for. A corner kick was taken by Federico Gallego who crossed the ball to the near post where Ashutosh Mehta ran towards the goal and headed the ball on target with a running leap. The ball completely missed Eze and Rehenesh who tried to push it away from the goal, but it flew right past them and gave the Highlanders the lead, and that’s how the first half came to an end with NorthEast United dominating the first 45.
The second half of the clash began with Jamshedpur FC keeping the pressure high on the Highlanders. The Men of Steel decided to amp up their attacks to get back into the game, but fell short in keeping their defence intact as the Highlanders managed to extend their lead. An error from Isaac in passing the ball to his teammates led to the opposition gaining the possession. Federico Gallego passed it to the debutant, Deshorn Brown, who collected the ball with a long touch. Eze and Hartley quickly ran to dispossess the attacker but were unsuccessful as Brown finessed the ball into the bottom-left corner to score his first goal for the Highlanders thus doubling the leading for his team.
With two goals down, Jamshedpur FC looked desperate to break the strong defensive deadlock of NorthEast United, and make their way back into the game. An error by the NorthEast United keeper Subhashis sent the ball straight to Valskis in the final third who ran towards the goal to score. Valskis tried to put the ball into the right corner, but the keeper redeemed himself with a crucial save and kept the ball off the net thus denying another attempt made by Jamshedpur FC.
The game picked up pace as both sides shared the ball possession, but Jamshedpur FC came through with everything to get back into the game. Just when it seemed the match would end with two goals to none, Jamshedpur FC skipper, Peter Hartley, brought back hope into the squad. Aitor sent the ball into the far post (from the corner) which flew over the keeper and reached Hartley who headed the ball into the goal. The opposition called for a hand ball to the referee but the official allowed the goal which brought Jamshedpur FC back into the game.
In the final moments of the game, Jamshedpur FC went all-out to equalise the score and end the game in a draw. A defended ball from the Highlanders was collected by Peter Harley who lobbed the ball into the box from 40 yards away towards Valskis. Valskis then beat his marker to get his head on the ball, but he mistimed the header and the ball flew over the crossbar. The missed chance could have been just the goal Jamshedpur FC needed to make a last minute comeback. With 6 minutes added to the 90 minutes, NorthEast United did their best to kill the remaining time for the final whistle.
The contest came to an end with Northeast United FC bagging the victory and securing the three points to move up the table. Jamshedpur FC on the other hand were disheartened from yet another loss as they moved down to eighth position in the ISL table.