Issac Vanmalswama came in as a late substitute to help Jamshedpur FC with the equaliser as the host held a determined Chennaiyin FC to a 1-1 draw in the Indian Super League (ISL) here at the JRD Tata Sports Complex on Monday.
Chennaiyin went ahead midway through the first half off a well taken finish from the Lithuanian striker Nerijus Valskis.
AS IT HAPPENED
The arrival of its new head coach Owen Coyle seemed to inspire the former champion as it showed a renewed resolve to resurrect its form. Chennaiyin looked more organised in the opening half and did well with the wing play with Thoi Singh and Lallianzuala Chhangte mobilising the attacks on either side.
The absence of the Spaniards - forward Sergio Castel and play-maker Piti - seemed to hinder the offensive plans of the host, which had to rely on the Indian combination of Sumeet Passi, C. K. Vineeth and Farukh Choudhary in the attacking third. That Jamshedpur failed to manage even one shot at goal spoke a lot about the lack of purpose in its offensive ranks in the first half.
The Chennaiyin goal happened after a good understanding between Valskis and Rafael Crivellaro in the 26th minute. A one-two exchange from the pair opened up a decisive gap in the Jamshedpur’s otherwise tight defence as Crivellaro essayed an inch-perfect pass for Valskis, who picked up the ball and finished with a delectable half-turn.
The visitor could have managed a bigger lead but for Subrata Paul in the Jamshedpur goal. The former India goalkeeper cut off a few good Chennaiyin moves that seemed to threaten the host in the opening half.
The absence of an accomplished finisher kept bothering the host which showed more offensive intent after the break with the introduction of the young Aniket Jadhav. Jadhav did compound the worries of the Chennaiyin defence, which was led by the towering Romanian Lucian Goian, and the host finally managed the equaliser with a minute of a regulation time remaining.
Chennaiyin was left to rue that miss in the 89th minute when Aniket Jadhav showed silky skills to fox a couple of defenders and find Passi inside the box. He picked out Issac whose shot was deflected in off Farukh Choudhury, wrong-footing the goalkeeper.