NorthEast United FC played Jamshedpur FC in the 500th game of the Indian Super League. Both teams were playing their seventh game of the 2020-21 season. The Highlanders and the Red Miners came into the game on the back of securing a draw in their last two games.
Both teams had the objective of returning to winning ways after failing to secure a victory in their last two games.
The match started as a cagey affair with both teams failing to create a clear opening. The teams were unable to utilise the set pieces they got in the first half. The scoreboard at half time read nil-nil.
Jamshedpur FC took the lead in the 53rd minute through an Aniket Jadhav strike and managed to hold on to the lead to win the game 1-0.
A story of wasted set-pieces
Jamshedpur FC had more than a few set-piece situations in the first half. The red miners wasted all the set pieces they had. They failed to register a shot on target from them also in the first half. The set-piece routine Jamshedpur FC used were very predictable, and the Highlanders didn't have any problems dealing with it.
NorthEast United FC too were guilty of wasting the set pieces they had in the first half. NorthEast United did come close but failed to hit the target from the set pieces they had in the first half.
After going a goal down NorthEast United were awarded a penalty in the second half, but TP Rehenesh saved Idrissa Sylla's shot. Missing the penalty was the epitome of wasted set pieces in the game.
Goal boosts Aniket Jadhav's game.
The game was a cagey affair for the first 50 minutes. Then a moment of magic helped Jamshedpur FC take the lead. Jackichand Singh, Aniket Jadhav and Issac combined well to break the deadlock. A sequence of good one-touch football saw Aniket Jadhav five yards out with acres of space and the boy from Kolhapur made no mistake putting the ball in the back of the net with a neat first touch finish.
Two minutes after scoring Aniket ran riot past the left side of NorthEast United's defence as he beat the likes of Camara, and Gurjinder Kumar with ease before placing his shot wide. The way the young winger ran past the defence was something not seen from Aniket this season. His first goal of the season gave him much needed confidence to try things he hadn't done so far.
The Red miners will be hoping Aniket can keep playing the way he played in the second half today for most of the season.
TP Rehenesh the saviour for Jamshedpur FC
TP Rehenesh has been at the receiving end of some harsh criticism this season, and they were not without context. Today though the goalkeeper from Kerala was superb against his former employers NorthEast United FC. The keeper saved a crucial penalty which helped Jamshedpur secure the three points from an important game.
Apart from saving the penalty, Rehenesh looked solid throughout the game. His communication with Peter Hartley and Stephen Eze was reliable, and it helped Jamshedpur FC neutralise any threat that came there way.
Rehenesh did make up for a lot of his mistakes this season with the performance he put in today.
NorthEast United's unbeaten run comes to an end.
NorthEast United FC were one of the three teams to remain unbeaten in the Indian Super League this season before kick-off. The game ended NorthEast United's unbeaten run this season as the Highlanders succumbed to their first defeat of the season.
It was probably NorthEast United's worst performance of the season as they failed to create any clear cut chances and also failed to convert from the penalty spot.
The defence for the Highlanders this season has been a plus point, but today the defence was porous as the likes of Valskis, Jackichand and Aniket got past them without much difficulty.
The post came to NorthEast United's rescue or else the scoreline could have been bigger in favour of Jamshedpur FC.
The Highlanders will be hoping this blip is just a one time occasion, and not like last season where the team started with an unbeaten run of six games only to slide to the bottom of the table(finished 9th in the table) at the end of the season. Many people have already started drawing parallels with the previous season (given the similar situation the team is in), and coach Gerard Nus will be hoping his lads can pull up their socks and get back on track in the next match. The NorthEast United fans will be hoping that history doesn't repeat itself and that the team can create history this season.Published 19 Dec 2020, 10:45 IST