Jamshedpur stages a remarkable second-half comeback to register a 2-1 triumph over East Bengal

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Undoubtedly the deadliest set-piece taker in the league

Jamshedpur‘s invincible run in the second half of the 2023-24 Indian Super League season continues as they emerged victorious in a thrilling contest with East Bengal at JRD Tata Sports Complex on Thursday. 

Super-sub Rei Techikawa’s second-half strike and a memorable free-kick by Jeremy Manzorro in the extra time earned three vital points for the Red Miners. Despite opening the scoreline, Nandhakumar Sekar still couldn’t save the Torchbearers from suffering their third losing outcome in the last four games. 

The revolutionary Jamshedpur gaffer Khalid Jamil made three changes to the starting XI that marched victorious against Punjab recently. Provat Lakra and Wungngayam Muirang were called into the hosts’ defensive line while the Spanish striker Javier Siverio made his maiden start for the Red Miners. 

Meanwhile, the visitors also came up with three changes, bringing back the likes of Naorem Mahesh Singh and Ajay Chhetri into the lineup. The newly arrived Serbian defender Aleksander Pantic also featured in the Torchbearers’ central defense alongside Hijazi Maher. 

The Red Miners kick-started the play on an aggressive note as the combination attacking move knitted by Daniel Chima Chukwu and Imran Khan led them to barge into the opposition box in the very first minute. Intending to capitalize on the unsettled state of the opposition defense, Jamshedpur was making constant goal-scoring threats in the early minutes. 

A loud penalty appeal was raised in the 7th minute at Furnace when Imran was brought down in a crucial position from where the Manipuri winger could have pulled it off. However, the referee Crystal John had different views and decided not to penalize the penalty-worthy challenge of the Jordanian defender Maher. 

Despite being tested constantly quite early in the play, Prabhsukhan Gill stood tall and responded firmly to each and every question asked by the Jamshedpur attackers. In a surprising turn of events, an error by Lakra forced the Red Miners to be outnumbered by the visitors in their own box but Nandhakumar Sekar who drove the raid could not keep it on the target. 

Nandha’s clutch goal shocked the high-spirited Red Miners

The diligent efforts of the hosts eventually turned in vain as the Red and Gold Brigade had the last laugh at the end of the first-half action. Yamboi who was having an impressive first half botched terribly while performing a clearance and gave away the ball to Nandhakumar Sekar to break the deadlock. The Chennai-born winger took the shot from the near-post and scored his fourth league goal of the season nutmegging TP Rehenesh. 

Both teams returned to the battlefield for the second-half action with a refreshing energy but Jamshedpur’s struggle to find the clinical finish continued. Carles Cuadrat stuck to his tactic of relying on counter-attacks while keeping his focus on protecting the tiny 1-0 lead. 

A series of failures forced Jamil to substitute Javi Siverio as the Spaniard was replaced by Alen Stevanovic in the 79th minute while Rei Tachikawa and Nikhil Barla were also introduced into the attack as a part of the triple substitution. 

Just a couple of minutes after the triple substitution, the newly arrived Red Miners took the battlefield with the storm and brought the scoreline to levels. The breakthrough move for the home side was instigated by the local lad Barla with a pitch-perfect cross from the right flank. The cross was converted into the goal by yet another super-sub Tachikawa whose headed prowess equalized the scoreline. 

After the completion of regulation time, the play headed towards the seven minutes of injury time where a decisive foul committed by Mohammad Rakip at the edge of the box brought anti-climax for the Kolkata-based outfit. 

The seasoned set-piece specialist Jeremy Manzorro who also netted a goal from a similar position in the previous game stepped up to take the free-kick for Men of Steel. The French midfielder excelled with a calm and composed free-kick conversion and completed the comeback to win the contest by 2-1 for his club. 

This three-point prowess has once again helped the Red Miners to barge into the Top 6 leaping from the 11th place in just a span of four matchdays. The gates of playoffs are slowly closing for the Bengal Brigade as their deficit with the seventh-placed NorthEast United has increased to 4 points. 

East Bengal will be heading back to Kolkata as they are scheduled to face Chennaiyin in the opening fixture of Matchday 17 on Monday. The Red Miners will be back in action after a week-long break when they will be touring the City of Joy to face Mohun Bagan Super Giant on March 1.