ISL: Defiant Jamshedpur holds North East United

Jamshedpur FC put up a great defensive display to ensure a goalless draw with North East United FC.

Anas Edathodika (in red) is tackled by North East United FC’s players in Guwahati on Saturday.   -  Ritu Raj Konwar

A 10-man Jamshedpur FC (JFC) put up a great defensive display to hold host North East United (NEUFC) to a goalless draw in an ISL match here at the Indira Gandhi Stadium on Saturday. Watched by a weekend crowd of around 21,000, the host gave a spirited performance but victory eluded it in the absence of a good finisher in its ranks.

Match Centre

Having a good home record of winning four out of the seven homes matches last season, the Highlanders created ample scoring opportunities but failed to convert any one of them. Jamshedpur FC was fortunate in picking up a point, which came its way mainly because of the combination of Subrata Paul and Tiri in deep defence. The two together saved a plethora of chances as NEUFC made repeated forays in the Jamshedpur box.

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The host controlled the game for the greater part of the opening half but could not translate that advantage into goal. NEUFC could have gone into a lead in the fourth minute when its most gifted player Marcinho chested down a cross from Jose Goncalves in the JFC box. But the Brazilian attacking midfielder could not control his volley, which sailed over. That was a big relief for JFC defence, which was then still looking to find its rhythm.

Red card for Andre Bikey

The host enjoyed some extra yards in the midfield where Adilson Goiano and Lalrindika Ralte, who took the field for an injured Rowlin Borges, showed better creativity than JFC’s combination of Mehtab Hossain and the Brazilian Emerson Moura. JFC’s best opportunity was during the first-half extra time when Azuka Izu was released open in the NEUFC box by Trindale Goncalves. The Nigerian forward wasted the opportunity with a loose grounder that was easily saved by the NEUFC goalkeeper T. P. Rehenesh.

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The second half saw more attacks from the Highlanders but the JFC framework and Paul came in the way on three occasions, blocking the attempts from Marcinho (64th minute) and striker Danilo Cezario, who failed to beat Paul twice - in the 58th and 66th minutes. JFC was reduced to 10 men in the 79th minute when its substitute Andre Bikey from Cameroon was given a red card for a apparent foul on NEUFC’s Colombian substitute Luis Restrepo. This appeared a harsh decision from referee Melwin D’Costa, who apparently fell in for what seemed to be Restrepo’s play-acting. The burly Bikey went to clear a high ball and Restrepo went to the ground pretending to be hit.

  • The result: North East United FC 0 drew with Jamshedpur FC 0.
  • Man of the Match: Marcinho.