SC East Bengal gained their first-ever Indian Super League (ISL) point with a 0-0 draw against Jamshedpur FC at the Tilak Maidan Stadium in Vasco, Goa on Thursday. East Bengal defended resolutely to get something out of the game, despite going down to 10 men after Eugeneson Lyngdoh was sent off early.
Coming on the back of a victory in the previous match, Jamshedpur FC were predictably bright to start off. Aniket Jadhav looked to release William Lalnunfela behind East Bengal’s defense but he over-powered the pass. A few minutes later, Aniket was guilty of missing a massive chance after Mohammad Mobashir found him with a brilliant through ball. The young forward struck the ball way over the cross-bar, with only the goalkeeper remaining to be beaten.
East Bengal looked lively due to the predictable duo of Matti Steinman, Jacques Maghoma and Anthony Pilkington. But they weren’t able to break open the Jamshedpur defense. Alex Lima slipped a through ball to William Lalnunfela, but he was denied by a superb sliding interception from Mohamed Irshad.
East Bengal’s challenge to post a first-ever ISL victory became tougher as Eugeneson Lyngdoh was sent off after receiving two yellow cards in the space of five minutes. While the first yellow-card was acceptable, Lyngdoh was unlucky to have been penalized with a second booking as he got the ball in a duel with Alex Lima.
With an extra-man advantage, Jamshedpur FC could have gone 1-0 ahead immediately, following a sensational volley from Nerijus Valskis. After a series of passes between the Jamshedpur midfielders, Laldinliana Renthlei whipped a cross. Following that, Valskis almost caught East Bengal’s defense off-guard with a shot that went just wide.
After the cooling break, Jamshedpur threatened once again from a set-piece opportunity. Aitor Monroy delivered a superb ball from the corner-kick to Stephen Eze but the Nigerian’s powerful header only found the cross-bar. At the other end, Pilkington showcased great skill with lovely dribbling, but his eventual shot was easily saved by TP Rehenesh.
In the second half, Jamshedpur continued from where they left off in the previous 45 minutes. But the East Bengal defense stood tall. They were also quite lucky that the referee didn’t award a penalty to the Red Miners after Narayan Das seemed to have handled the ball inside the box. After being 10-men down, East Bengal suffered another blow as Debjit Majumder had to be brought on for the injured Sankar Roy.
With Laldinliana Renthlei’s poor service from the wings forcing Nerijus Valskis to drift wide, Owen Coyle also made a change by bringing on Jackichand Singh for Mohammad Mobashir. Following the substitution, Alex Lima struck the cross-bar with a stinging strike in the 69th minute.
Isaac Vanmalsawma came very close with a curling shot to the far post but the ball went just wide. However, Dinliana’s error-prone crossing continued either side of the second cooling break. Jamshedpur could have still eked out an opening to Nerijus Valksis. But Alex Lima decided to take a shot on his own and his effort didn’t turn out to be the best.
At the other end, the 10-men East Bengal could have stolen the three points at the death. Wahengbam Angousana delivered a fine cross to Scott Neville but the Aussie missed the target. To save the blushes, the referee termed Neville off-side even though replays suggested otherwise. Jamshedpur were also guilty of missing a chance few minutes later. Stephen Eze over-powered his header, following a fine delivery from Aitor Monroy.
With just four points to go in stoppage time, Laldinliana Renthlei was sent off after bagging a second yellow card. He was penalized for a poorly-timed tackle on Jacques Maghoma. Jamshedpur still pushed for the elusive goal but the game petered out for a goalless draw.
ISL 2020-21, SCEB vs JFC: Who was the Hero of the Match?
Defender Mohamed Irshad has to be considered as the ‘Hero of the Match’. After losing Danny Fox, East Bengal’s defensive issues already loomed large. Their problems only mounted after Eugeneson Lyngdoh was sent off with nearly 75 minutes to go.
However, Mohamed Irshad stood tall on the left side of the back-line. He used his strong physical presence to ward off danger from the likes of Nerijus Valskis, Alex Lima and William Lalnunfela. Irshad was also perfect with his sliding challenges and aerial duels.