Jamshedpur spices up the playoff race by defeating Odisha 2-0

Odisha’s playoff hopes are now in serious doubt

Odisha added spice to the top six race of the 2022-23 Indian Super League, putting their hopes in serious jeopardy in the process, as they suffered a 0-2 defeat against Jamshedpur here in the Kalinga Stadium. Harry Sawyer and Ritwik Das were the Red Miners’ two goal-scorers.

Odisha head coach Josep Gambau made only one change to the team that defeated NorthEast United 3-1. Shubham Sarangi came into the starting XI at Raynier Fernandes’ expense, with Thoiba Singh returning to his usual midfield role.

On the other hand, Jamshedpur head coach Aidy Boothroyd made a couple of tweaks to the team that won 3-2 against Hyderabad. Nikhil Barla and Jitendra Singh were handed starts, with the suspended Eli Sabia and full-back Laldinliana Renthlei making way for them.

The hosts had a good start to the game and had an unexpected opportunity in the 6th minute when a loose ball fell for Sarangi. Seeing the Jamshedpur goal-keeper, Vishal Yadav off his line, the defender went for glory but his attempt was not on target.

Four minutes later, the Red Miners had their first chance as winger Ritwik Das found himself in space outside the box and pulled the trigger. However, his shot was not on target either.

The roller-coaster game kept switching inclinations, as it was Odisha’s turn to launch the next attack in the 16th minute. Midfielder Isak Vanlalruatfela delivered a dangerous cross into the box but Pedro Martin could not get to it.

Following the pattern, the next attack came from Jamshedpur, in the 25th minute of the match. A defense-splitting pass by Jitendra found Sawyer through on goal, but the Aussie striker’s attempt was brilliantly saved by the Kalinga Warriors’ custodian, Amrinder Singh.

Just after the half-hour mark, Odisha had yet another opportunity as Thoiba found Diego Mauricio in a dangerous position with a pass. The Brazilian striker did well to keep his effort on target, though it was saved by Vishal.

The last chance of the half came to Jamshedpur, though the deadline could not be broken. After receiving a pass from Jay Emmanuel Thomas, Boris Singh Thangjam put in a low cross inside the box which found Daniel Chima Chukwu, but the Nigerian striker’s attempt was blocked by a player in black.

Ritwik Das had a stunning day at the office

Ritwik Das had a stunning day at the office

The first fifteen minutes of the game saw both teams struggling to find any rhythm, but the complexion of the game changed suddenly when Jamshedpur scored the opening goal of the game. Ritwik put in a delivery for Chukwu inside the box, who then lobbed it towards Sawyer’s path. The Australian had a fairly easy job of heading the ball into an empty net, which he did without any hesitation.

One goal brought another as the Red Miners doubled their advantage just two minutes later. This time, Sawyer played a big role in the build-up to the goal as his precise pass found Ritwik completely unmarked on the left flank. The winger then did well to dart inside the box and place his shot accurately past the diving Amrinder.

Having scored twice, Jamshedpur had the chance of making the scoreline 3-0 just seven minutes later, but it was not to be. Ritwik was the architect again as he tried to lob the ball over Amrinder, but this time around, the Odisha goalkeeper was alert.

Time was running out for the Kalinga Warriors, who had a rare chance in the 80th minute. Victor Rodriguez played a good ball forward which found Mauricio, but the latter could only find the side netting with this attempt.

New signing Aniket Jadhav showed a glimpse of his potential three minutes later when he made a darting run down the right flank before finding Mauricio with a pass, but it simply was not the former Mumbai City striker’s day, as his attempt was off-target once again.

The last major chance of the game came in the Kalinga Warriors’ way in the 87th minute. Saul Crespo found Rodriguez with a pass who then launched a good attempt, but goal-scorer Ritwik made a stunning goal-line clearance.

While Odisha still remains 6th in the standings with 30 points from 20 matches, a Goa win in their next match against Bengaluru will mean elimination for the Kalinga Warriors, with the Gaurs enjoying a superior goal difference. Meanwhile, Jamshedpur leapfrogged East Bengal to climb up to ninth place, finishing their season with 19 points.