Chennaiyin FC vs Jamshedpur FC: Who won yesterday's match?

The Men of Steel stuck to a conservative strategy to defeat Chennaiyin FC. Courtesy: ISL
The Men of Steel stuck to a conservative strategy to defeat Chennaiyin FC. Courtesy: ISL

Chennaiyin FC’s play-off hopes took another massive hit as they went down by a 0-1 margin against Jamshedpur FC in the 89th match of the 2020-21 Indian Super League (ISL) season at the GMC Stadium in Bambolim, Goa. The Marina Machans did have the better chances on the night but Jamshedpur FC nicked the game in the 90th minute to stay in the hunt for a top 4 spot.

The game got off to a cracking start as Lallianzuala Chhangte signaled his intentions right away by cutting in and curling the ball with his right foot. Jamshedpur FC’s TP Rehenesh was alert enough to dive and make a good save to his left, but Chhangte continued to be a menace with his pace.

Eli Sabia played a fantastic diagonal ball to Manuel Lanzarote but the Spaniard’s cross was deflected away for a corner. Jamshedpur FC eventually came into the game through Alex Lima but the Brazilian went down cheaply in the box after making a superb run. Chennaiyin FC could very well have conceded a silly goal when Vishal Kaith spilled the ball from a Len Doungel cross, but the referee came to his rescue as William Lalnunfela was off-side.

The Red Miners saw more of the ball just before the cooling break but the forwards couldn’t deliver quality in the final-third. Chennaiyin FC got back into the game but Chhangte over-played the ball when he could have released Lanzarote on the left side of the box. A couple of minutes later, Chhangte raced to the box and cut it back for Rahim Ali but his shot was superbly blocked by Ricky Lallawmawma. Centre-back Stephen Eze came up with another block when Reagan released a shot from the edge of the box.

Jamshedpur FC got a half-chance when Kaith threw the ball straight at William but David Grande dragged his shot wide. Chennaiyin FC could have gone into the break with a goal in their bag but Eze made a fantastic sliding challenge to take the ball off Rahim Ali.

The Men of Steel should have taken the lead very early into the second-half but Grande put it over the cross-bar after Peter Hartley directed his header towards the forward from Aitor Monroy’s free-kick. Soon, Hartley himself got a fantastic chance when Narender Gahlot’s shot from the second-phase of a free-kick came his way but the Englishman failed to control the ball. Just after the hour-mark, Eze connected with a header but it didn’t have enough pace to trouble Kaith.

Alex Lima then skied a shot on the half-volley, while Chennaiyin FC messed up a free-kick when Memo blasted the ball into the advertising hoardings. The game got a bit scrappy but both teams resorted to defensive substitutions. Eze jumped highest from another Aitor Monroy set-piece but his header went wide of goal.

Thoi Singh missed an even simpler chance for Chennaiyin FC when he opted for a pass instead of going for the shot after Jakub Sylvestr released him with a cute little reverse pass. Just a few seconds later, Jamshedpur took the lead when David Grande’s shot from the side of the box was deflected past Vishal Kaith by centre-back Enes Sipovic. Five minutes were added on, but Jamshedpur FC held on for a close 1-0 victory.

Who was the Hero of the Match?

Stephen Eze was a threat at both ends of the pitch for Chennaiyin FC
Stephen Eze was a threat at both ends of the pitch for Chennaiyin FC

The man-mountain Stephen Eze bagged the ‘Hero of the Match’ award for his rock-solid performance at the back along with Peter Hartley. Chennaiyin FC put the Red Miners on the defensive from the get-go and it required some crucial blocks and challenges to support TP Rehenesh.

The Nigerian Eze has been one of the best defenders in the league and he brought his A-game once again with three clearances, three interceptions, two tackles and one blocked shot. One of those tackles on Rahim Ali also prevented a certain Chennaiyin FC goal in the first-half. The 26-year-old could have bagged himself a goal and also an assist but he still did more than enough in Jamshedpur FC’s victory.

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Edited by Prem Deshpande
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