Ishan Pandita’s late strike helps Jamshedpur bag all three points against NorthEast United
Besides Pandita, Jordan Murray and Boris Singh were on the scoresheet for Jamshedpur while Deshorn Brown scored a brace for the Highlanders.
The Red Miners head coach Owen Coyle brought back Eli Sabia to add more stability to his defense while Mobashir Rahman replaced Alex Lima in the middle of the park. There was another tweak in the goalkeeping front as Pawan Kumar started in place of the injured Rehenesh TP.
On the other hand, the Highlanders gaffer Khalid Jamil opted for an unchanged starting XI after an impressive performance from his team in the 3-3 draw against reigning champions Mumbai City.
NorthEast United was quick to get off the blocks as Deshorn Brown handed them the early lead in the fourth minute when combination play with VP Suhair saw him getting one-on-one with the Jamshedpur goalkeeper. The Jamaican held his nerve and calmly slotted it past the keeper to take his total tally of goals to five.
Jamshedpur had a great opportunity to restore parity in the 14th minute when Murray missed an absolute sitter. A beautiful long ball from Mobashir found Murray in space who had the entire goal gaping but failed to keep his header on target.
Greg Stewart almost equalized in the 26th minute when he struck a sweet volley but Mirshad Michu came up with a splendid save to deny the Scotsman.
Perseverance finally paid off for the Red Miners just before half-time when Murray rose the highest to head home a Stewart cross to ensure his side doesn’t go into the break with the pressure of mounting a comeback in the next 45 minutes.
Coyle’s team started the second half from where they left the first and the Australian striker could have scored his second just three minutes after the resumption but yet another brilliant save from Mirshad kept the scoreline at 1-1.
However, Jamshedpur got the lead just before the hour mark when Seimenlen Doungel laid off a good ball for Murray and the former Central Coast Mariners striker could have pulled the trigger himself but he passed it to Boris who made no mistake in slotting it past the Highlanders custodian.
Only four minutes later, a lapse in concentration by Patrick Flottmann saw the defender being closed in by Murray but he redeemed himself with stunning goal-line clearance to keep the wobbling ball out while Boris failed to tuck in the rebound.
NorthEast United almost equalized in the 86th minute when a loose punch from Pawan landed kindly for Mohammed Irshad whose venomous effort was dealt with by the Red Miners custodian.
Mashoor Shareef’s delivery from the middle should have been dealt with easily by Peter Hartley but the Englishman made a mess of it and ended up providing the Jamaican striker with a golden opportunity. Given his current run of form, Brown was never in doubt to miss from such a close range and found the back of the net for a second time on the evening.
Almost everyone considered it to be the last significant action of the match but frenzy unfolded seconds before the final whistle when Stewart launched a looping ball in the penalty area. Lima chested down the ball and laid it off to Pandita who thumped it past the keeper to hand Jamshedpur all three points.
This win has helped Coyle’s men to get back to the third position and the Red Miners will now take on East Bengal at the Athletic Stadium on Tuesday while NorthEast United will look to get back to winning ways when they lock horns with Goa next Friday.