The wooden-spoon holders Odisha FC went down once again by a 0-1 margin against Jamshedpur FC in the 79th match of the 2020-21 Indian Super League (ISL) Season. Jamshedpur FC could have completed a bigger win but there were plenty of missed chances, and Mohammad Mobashir’s maiden ISL goal in the first-half proved to be the difference in the end.
Jamshedpur FC set the template very early on with center-back Stephen Eze doing superbly to earn a goal-kick after Jerry Mawihmingthanga got to the ball on the right flank. A few minutes later, Seiminlen Doungel made a fine run into the box and took a shot but it was saved by Arshdeep Singh.
The likes of Doungel and Narender Gahlot tried to come up with crosses but those attempts were being dealt with easily by Odisha FC in the early minutes of the match. Jamshedpur FC were particularly targeting the left-back Rakesh Pradhan as he was unable to deal with Doungel’s energy and physicality. Forward Nerijus Valskis tried to break his goal drought early on but Arshdeep Singh produced another fine save with a dive to his left.
The Red Miners skipper Peter Hartley was alert at the other end as he came up with a couple of sliding challenges to prevent Odisha FC from taking the lead. The first big chance of the game came in the 33rd minute when Farukh Choudhary skied his shot after Doungel found him with a neat cut-back. Jamshedpur’s positive play eventually paid off when Arshdeep Singh made a costly mistake after Mohammad Mobashir tried to find Valskis in the box. Although the Lithuanian striker didn’t get a touch, Arshdeep Singh missed Mobashir’s cross to give away a soft goal to Jamshedpur FC.
Odisha FC tried to make a quick comeback with Diego Mauricio and Jerry combining with a quick give and go. Mauricio eventually entered the box but he fell to the floor, appealing for a penalty after Stephen Eze made contact with his shoulder. However, referee MB Santhosh Kumar had no interest in the penalty claim as he waved play on.
Len Doungel produced a lively start to the second half too as he cut in and took a strong left-footed strike, only to see Arshdeep parry it away. The young Odisha FC custodian was called into action once again when Alex Lima took a shot from distance. The Kalinga Warriors slowly started creating inroads in the opposition box, with Diego Mauricio creating a chance for Brad Inman but Hartley was there yet again with a crucial block.
In the 60th minute, Nerijus Valskis came up with an acrobatic effort but it went wide of the target. A few minutes later, a long ball was quickly played to Valskis again but his cross was too powerful to create a chance for the other Jamshedpur FC forwards. The misfiring Farukh Choudhary came up with a couple of shots but they went wide of the target.
There was a controversial refereeing decision once again in the 82nd minute when Jerry threaded a neat pass to Mauricio but the Brazilian was brought down by TP Rehenesh. Once again, the referee didn’t think it was a penalty even though this was clearer than the appeal that was made in the first half.
Jamshedpur FC could have taken advantage and added to their lead but Farukh struck the woodwork in stoppage time. With Odisha FC's inability to come up with an equaliser, Jamshedpur FC took home a well-deserved three points.
ISL 2020-21, OFC vs JFC: Who was the Hero of the Match?
Forward Len Doungel was named as the ‘Hero of the Match’ for his superb all-round performance. Having signed for Jamshedpur FC in search of game-time, Doungel showed signs of his best with a robust performance.
The Manipuri could have easily had a couple of assists if Farukh Choudhary had been more clinical on the night. He also helped defensively with five tackles and two clearances.