Jamshedpur FC returned to the top-four in the Indian Super League table, thanks to Ishan Pandita’s stoppage-time goal as his side edged a well-deserved 3-2 win against NorthEast United FC at the GMC Athletic Stadium in Bambolim on Thursday.
While JFC walked away with three points, it was NorthEast United that opened the scoring. Deshorn Brown, who had scored his debut goal for NEUFC against Jamshedpur FC was the man to score not once but twice this time.
In the fourth minute, Suhair Vadakkepeedika’s pass after a run in the midfield found the Jamaican, as he beat his marker Peter Hartley first and then the JFC keeper Pawan Kumar, to bury the ball in the left-bottom corner of the net.
Jamshedpur came close to equalising ten minutes later. Mobashir Rahman, who made his first start of the season, delivered a gorgeous aerial ball on a plate for Jordan Murray from outside the box, only to see the Australian miss an open goal with his head.
The striker got his shot at redemption in the first half itself with a 44th-minute-bullet-header from a Greg Stewart free-kick, making it all square shortly after the pair had combined for an attack with the latter taking a shot then, which was punched away by Michu.
AS IT HAPPENED: Jamshedpur FC vs NorthEast United FC Highlights
In the second half, JFC doubled its lead in the 56th minute as Boris Singh, after getting the ball from a Provat Lakra deflection off a Murray cross in the NEUFC box, scored, leaving the Highlanders’ defence completely exposed.
NorthEast United could have gone further behind, but a goal-line clearance by Patrick Flottmann, and another missed shot by Murray in the NEUFC penalty box spared further embarrassment for Khalid Jamil’s side.
Pawan Kumar ensured JFC’s lead remained intact with a save in the 86th minute as Rochharzela came close to scoring with a shot from inside the box.
As the match was heading to a 2-1 result, Brown was released in the box as he dribbled past Pawan Kumar to make it 2-2 in the first minute of stoppage time.
However, Jamshedpur answered within a minute. Ishan Pandita, the ‘super-sub’, who had come on for Jordan Murray, got the ball from fellow substitute Alex Lima in front of the box and gave the Men of Steel the essential third goal and three points they wanted so dearly.
The win comes as a relief for Owen Coyle and his side, not just as the first win of 2022, but also as the first win in four games. It now sits third on the table level in points with leader Hyderabad FC and Mumbai City FC, both of whom have a game in hand.
While NorthEast United FC's did not plummet from its tenth position in the table, its chances for a top-four finish got slimmer.
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