Priori stunner gives Jamshedpur top-four cushion
Jamshedpur, Feb 10 (PTI) Wellington Priori's stunning goal from an overhead kick was enough to give Jamshedpur FC a vital 1-0 victory over NorthEast United FC to keep them in the top four of the Hero Indian Super League.
Steve Coppell's side have now won three matches in a row at the JRD Tata Sports Complex, and occupy the third spot with 25 points, the same as second-placed FC Pune City who have a better goal-difference and have a match in hand.
Priori's incredible goal came in the 50th minute. It was a long throw in from Izu Azuka which found Wellington in the box. He controlled it with his thigh and then executed the perfect overhead kick to give Jamshedpur the lead.
The strike is certainly one of the best of the season and overshadowed goalkeeper Subrata Paul's achievement of becoming the first man to keep 20 clean sheets in the ISL.
After a goalless first session, the deadlock was broken minutes after Coppell had introduced Mehtab Hossain for Ashim Biswas. It looked defensive on paper but gave them stability in midfield.
Priori kept growing in confidence for the rest of the half as well.
For NorthEast United, Seiminlen Doungel was picked out by Robert Lalthlamuana with a fine cross but the header was wayward and Jamshedpur went forward with creativity as well. Souvik Chakrabarti delivered a threatening ball from the right but neither of the two red shirts in the box could read it.
The best chance for NorthEast to level matters came in the 80th minute when Nirmal Chhetri couldn't keep his header on target from point-blank range after a flick on from a corner.
Jamshedpur's Farukh Choudhary was one-on-one against TP Rehenesh in the 94th minute, but the goalkeeper saved it brilliantly.
The JRD Tata Sports Complex saw the home fans starved for goalmouth action from their team in the first half.
It was all NorthEast from the opening whistle, and their first spell of dominance petered away after a comic handball from Lalrindika Ralte in the box. He tried to head it but also reached out with his arm - the referee saw it and brandished yellow.
There were better chances to come though, and NorthEast will regret not making them count. Marcinho and Doungel combined and the latter took a shot at the near post which was turned away by Subrata Paul.
The goalkeeper was called up again when Marcinho cut in with a couple of stepovers and let loose with his left foot, with the Indian custodian up to the task again to keep him at bay with a strong right palm