Chennaiyin FC (CFC) continued its reign on top of the Indian Super League standings as it downed host Jamshedpur FC (JFC) by a first-half penalty here at the JRD Tata Sports Complex on Thursday.
Two penalties towards the end of the first-half determined the outcome of the action. The visitor scored it while the host’s attempt from the spot was saved.
Jeje Lalpekhlua found the net from the spot to find the lead for CFC as his goalkeeping colleague Karanjit Singh saved the second penalty of the match - coming five minutes later for JFC - to secure the full quota of points.
Chennaiyin tallied 16 points from eight games to consolidate its position on top.
Jamshedpur FC was able to break out of its overtly cautious approach, maintained so long in the tournament, taking the attack route right after the start. It could have gone ahead in the second minute when Mehtab Hossain, returning to the side after a brief injury lay-off, set up a fine cross which found Kervens Belfort inside the CFC box.
The latter took a fine attempt but Karanjit blocked it showing right anticipation. Four minutes later it was JFC’s Jerry Mawihmingthanga but he found his flick from close sailing over.
As the host continued to maintain the upsurge, defender Jerry Lalrinzuala came to the visitor’s rescue in the 15th minute when he blocked Souvik Chakraborty’s attempt with a fine interception near the goal.
The CFC made its first notable move in the 19th minute seeing Francisco Fernandes cutting his way into the JFC box. With the opposition defender Tiri shadowing him, Fernandes took a tumble but referee Ranjit Bakshi did seem interested in CFC’s penalty claim.
The penalty did come CFC’s way in the 40th minute when Mehtab made the mistake of handling the ball inside his own box with Fernandes again trying to push for a break inside the JFC box.
Jeje, who had been largely submissive in the match, came up to score from the spot. The host earned a relatively ‘soft’ penalty in the last minute of the first-half when Bikash Jairu went down inside with a slight challenge from the CFC centre-back Sereno Henrique.
Karanjit, the former National goalkeeper, showed he still was high on his instincts as he dived right to block Belfort’s shot from the spot.
This literally decided the fortune of the match as Chennaiyin bottled up the host pushing extra men in defence after the break. The JFC tried to spruce up its offensive introducing attack-oriented South African Sameehg Doutie and Nigerian Azuka Izu in the 68th minute but the move failed to pay off against a resolute Chennaiyin defence.
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