Jamshedpur FC snatched all three points with a gritty 1-0 win against NorthEast United FC in the 2020-21 Indian Super League Season (ISL). The fixture was the 32nd game of this year's ISL and was played at the Tilak Maidan Stadium in Vasco da Gama, Goa. Jamshedpur FC’s defense stood tall while Aniket Jadhav found the back of the net early in the second half.
The first half wasn't particularly exciting as both teams cancelled each other out with some one-dimensional long-ball football. However, like in many other ISL games, there was a contentious call from the assistant referee as Idrissa Sylla was flagged off-side after being played in by Kwesi Appiah.
For Jamshedpur FC, Stephen Eze got a couple of superb chances from set-pieces but he failed to make the most of them.
The second half had a lot more action as spaces seemed to open up due to tired legs. To their credit, Jamshedpur FC did well to start quickly as Aniket Jadhav scored in the 53rd minute.
A short while later, NorthEast United FC got a lifeline as Jamshedpur FC defender Stephen Eze brought down Benjamin Lambot to give away a penalty. However, TP Rehenesh dived to his right to come up with a superb save from Idrissa Sylla’s penalty kick.
After that crucial moment, Jamshedpur FC rediscovered their defensive stability with skipper Peter Hartley leading from the front. As a result, NorthEast United FC never looked likely to take any points and fell to their first loss of the season.
Here are four things we learned from the fixture:
#4 NorthEast United FC’s midfield goes missing against Jamshedpur FC
The main reason for NorthEast United FC's impressive start to the season was attributed to the strong performances from the midfielders.
The young Apuia has continued from where he left on in the last season, while Khassa Camara has been widely regarded as one of the best signings of the season. The Mauritanian has ensured that NorthEast United FC don’t miss the services of Jose Leudo, who was a strong midfield presence over the last few seasons.
However, against Jamshedpur FC, NorthEast United FC failed to keep the ball, especially in the first half.
Despite missing Aitor Monroy, Jamshedpur FC mounted numerous attacks through the left flank. The likes of Isaac Vanmalsawma, Jackichand Singh, and Nerijus Valskis combined well to overrun the NorthEast United midfield.
#3 NorthEast United FC and Jamshedpur FC lack imagination in the final third
Right from the kick-off whistle, the game turned into an end-to-end one but in a rather disappointing fashion. Both Jamshedpur FC and NorthEast United FC resorted to just long-balls to create openings and that didn’t work at all.
Gurjinder Singh and Benjamin Lambot tried to find Idrissa Sylla and Kwesi Appiah with several long balls, which Peter Hartley and Stephen Eze dealt with comfortably.
At the other end, Jamshedpur FC were slightly better and had a few decent crosses from the likes of Isaac and Alex Lima. However, they failed to create any clear-cut chances in the first half.
The passing accuracy of both the sides reflected how scrappy the game was. NorthEast United FC only completed 47% of their passes while Jamshedpur FC didn’t fare too well either, with just 57% passing accuracy.
#2 Jamshedpur FC midfielders impress in the second-half
With Aitor Monroy unavailable for this game after being sent off in the last match against Mumbai City FC, manager Owen Coyle had to make a few adjustments. He played Alex Lima in central midfield while Jackichand Singh was asked to play an unfamiliar role behind Nerijus Valskis as an attacking midfielder.
Having taken Jackichand’s place on the right wing, Aniket Jadhav was invisible in the first half but he sprang to life after the half-time break.
The trio of Aniket, Jackichand, and Isaac were all involved as the former India U-17 star scored to give Jamshedpur FC the lead. Jackichand and Isaac exchanged passes before the former chipped a nice pass into the six-yard box. With just the goal-keeper to beat, Aniket came up with a neat finish to find the back of the net.
Just minutes after the goal, Aniket almost came up with the goal of the season after receiving the ball inside his own half. However, the young forward lacked composure as he powered his shot high and wide.
Nevertheless, Aniket continued to be a nuisance for the NorthEast United FC back-line and made some powerful runs. Brazilian midfielder Alex Lima also worked hard despite carrying an injury.
It was truly a team effort from Jamshedpur FC, who overcame an injury crisis to register their second win of the season.
#1 Gerard Nus’ tactics and late substitutions hurt NorthEast United FC
Though it is still early in the ISL season, Gerard Nus has been one of the most impressive managers even though he is the youngest of the coaches. However, his tactics were questionable as NorthEast United FC looked short of ideas throughout the game.
The curious decision to simply play long balls to the strikers played right into Jamshedpur FC's hands. The substitutions were even more puzzling. The young Ninthoi Meetei struggled throughout the match on the right wing and lost the ball on several occasions.
On the other flank, Rochharzela didn’t feature much either, due to NorthEast’s plan to play long balls to Idrissa Sylla. Rochharzela was isolated and failed to make an impression in the 30 minutes he played in the second half.
However, Gerard Nus seemed determined not to remove the duo despite having players such as VP Suhair and Britto PM on the bench. The Kerala-based duo has impressed in their limited chances so far but they had to wait till the last few minutes of the match to come on.
If Nus had made these substitutions earlier and changed the predictable tactics, NorthEast United FC could have salvaged a point at the very least.Published 19 Dec 2020, 06:00 IST