Jamshedpur hosted Bengaluru FC in their final match of the season which was also happened to be their final match at home. With nothing but pride to play for, Jamshedpur went into this match with a 0-0 draw against Chennaiyin FC in their previous encounter which put them out of the top 4 race.
Bengaluru on the other hand, having already sealed their playoff berth, visited Jamshedpur for the first time as the last year’s encounter between the two sides was held at the Kalinga Stadium in Bhubaneswar.
The game started with Bengaluru FC fielding a fairly young side with their Tata Academy player Rino Anto donning the captain’s armband for the first time this season. The Bengaluru side also marked the least number of foreign players in the starting XI, with only Luis Lopez and Xisco being the only foreign representation in the Bengaluru squad.
The scores opened with Bengaluru taking the lead in the 16th minute of the game, courtesy a defensive lapse from goalkeeper Subrata Pal and defender Augustin Fernandes to which youngster Boithang Haokip made no mistake to see the ball the back of the net.
The equaliser came from Jamshedpur just minutes before the halftime following another defensive howler, this time from Bengaluru goalkeeper Soram Poirei who spilled the ball in front of Augustin Fernandes who in-turn put the ball past the goal-line from a very tight angle.
The second half opened the floodgates for Jamshedpur as they scored 3 goals in 90 seconds to take an assailable lead in the match. Another goal from Carlos Calvo, three minutes later, put the final nail in the coffin for Bangalore, handing them their biggest defeat in the Indian Super League history, finishing off with a scoreline of 5-1.
Here are the 5 talking points from the game.
#1 Bengaluru’s field an inexperienced squad
Having already been qualified for the playoffs, Bengaluru were expected to rest the important players in the team and that’s what they did in today’s game. Coach Carles Cuadrat fielded a young and a rather inexperienced side by resting some of the senior players in the team with the likes of Gurpreet Singh Sandhu, Sunil Chhetri, Udanta Singh, Dimas Delgado, Albert Serran, among others given rest before the all-important knockout stage of the tournament.
This also opened up the opportunity for Bengaluru to test their bench strength in case any first team player gets injured or has to sit out for the semi-finals or the finals.
Even with the 5-1 thrashing coach Carles Cuadrat won’t be bothering himself too much about the result as he could give some much-important game time to his bench, which showed a rather spirited display in the game, especially in the first-half.
The likes of Sairuat Kima, Semboi Haokip and Gursimrat Singh were really impressive with their spirited display of football and can open up options for the team going forward in the pivotal stage of the tournament.
#2 Defensive howlers from both sides
With a stronger and a full-time squad than that of the opposition, the game was expected to be dominated by Jamshedpur but it was anything but that especially in the first-half. Against the run of play, Jamshedpur was the first to concede a goal courtesy as total miscommunication between the goal-keeper and the defender which is really not expected at this level of the game.
To an over-hit header off a Bengaluru defender, directed towards Semboi Haokip, Augustin Fernandes (who was marking Haokip) let the ball rolling towards Subrata Pal who was expected to come forward and pick up from the edge of the penalty box. Augustin gave up the chase anticipating Paul to collect the ball but it wasn’t to be. Semboi, who was quick enough to realise the miscommunication beat both the Jamshedpur players to the chase as he put the ball into the net with a subtle finish, giving his side the 1-0 lead in the game.
29 minutes later, Augustin Fernandes was again involved in the action but this time in the opposite half as Bengaluru goalkeeper Soram Poirei spilled an easy ball off his hand straight to the feet of Augustin who was set free in an otherwise crowded penalty box. The Jamshedpur defender was quick enough to react to the situation as he equalised from a very tight angle in between three Bengaluru defenders.
The second-half of the game revealed an even ugly story for the BFC defence as Jamshedpur was able to overpower them four times in 15 minutes, gaining an unassailable 5-1 lead in the game.
#3 Bengaluru gets a penalty but was denied by Subrata Paul
Bengaluru could have easily extended their lead to a formidable 2-0 in the 40th minute of the game when they were awarded a penalty courtesy a foul on Edmund Lalrindika by Tiri.
In the continuous fray of attacking football, Edmund was able to get past the last-line of the Jamshedpur defence and was caught by Tiri inside the Jamshedpur penalty box. Even though the decision doesn’t seem completely fair on the defender, referee Ajitkumar wasted no-time in pointing towards the penalty spot giving BFC the chance to increase the lead.
Xisco who took the kick from the spot went for precision over power as he slides the ball to the right of Subrata Pal who makes no mistake from letting the ball go inside the goal and saves it rather easily.
Subrata who has had a fantastic season 5 of the Indian Super League is one of the contenders for the golden glove and he surely added some valuable points to his kitty with the much-important save.
#4 Jamshedpur on a rampage in the second-half
After getting a late equaliser in the first half, Jamshedpur took the field in the second-half in hopes of elevating their goal difference against a weaker BFC side. Starting the scoring for JFC was their talisman Michael Soosairaj who was able to bend a curler to the right top corner off an assist from Memo, to which the BFC defence had no answers, as the ball beat three defenders and the goalkeeper along the way to put Jamshedpur 2-1 up in the game. The next two goals came within a minute as Pablo Morgado put his side 4-1 up, first with a header off a cross from Carlos Calvo and then from an assist from Jerry to glide the ball into the back of the net.
The final goal came from Carlos Calvo who pulled off a magic freekick from the edge of the box to which goalkeeper Soram Poirei had no answers to.
With a 5-1 lead by the 60th minute of the game, Jamshedpur came close to scoring in a number of occasions but failed to capitalise on any of those chances.
Barring the inexperience in the BFC squad, Jamshedpur will be pretty happy with the performance of their attack which has been their major area of concern throughout the season and it’s a definite space which they would like to improve upon in the next season.
#5 End of a content season for Jamshedpur
Having started the season on the brightest of notes, Jamshedpur would have hoped to make it to the playoffs this time around but it wasn’t to be.
After taking the reigns from Steve Coppell, coach Caser Ferrando was expected to dismantle the shortcomings of the last season to a more convincing position for Jamshedpur in this season and the performance in the first half of the season looked quite motivated for the miners.
With the number of foreign midfield signings, Jamshedpur was well guarded with the services of players like Calvo, Morgado, Cido, Memo among others. Jamshedpur’s defensive half was also clinical this season as they were amongst the strongest defensive units in the competition.
However, the area where Jamshedpur lacked has been their attack which was also plagued by injuries at a crucial juncture of the competition. The absence of a proper striker left Jamshedpur wandering for a way to capitalise on their passing game as they relied heavily on their wingers and midfielders to support the attacking option.
Having lost only 3 games this season Jamshedpur will take a lot of positives from the season as they will hope to retain the likes of Soosairaj, Tiri and Memo going into the next season of the tournament and go one better than this one.