A sensational strike from Wellington Priori in the 51st minute earned Jamshedpur FC an important victory over NorthEast United FC in an Indian Super League (ISL) clash at the JRD Tata Sports Complex on Saturday.
Both Jamshedpur FC and NorthEast United made two changes to their starting XIs for the clash. Steve Coppell brought in last match’s goal scorer Bikash Jairu in place of Farukh Choudhary and striker Ashim Biswas in place of Anas Edathodiaka. Anas’s exclusion meant Andre Bikey moved back to the central defence.
In the NorthEast United team, Maic Sema started for the first time this season replacing Danilo Lopez and Robert Lalthlamuana replaced Reagan Singh in the left-back position.
The visitors were in control of the match right from kick-off and dominated proceedings. Seiminlen Doungel started the match as the lone striker but as the game progressed, Marcinho took his position upfront and Doungel shifted to the right flank.
Lalrindika Ralte came close to score in the 12th minute when he followed Len Doungel’s through ball. Unfortunately, Ralte handled the ball inside the box and gave away a silly free-kick to Jamshedpur FC.
Between 35 to 40 minutes, NorthEast United came close to score on three separate occasions but Subrata Paul remained rock solid under the bar to deny them. It started with Len Doungel’s shot from the top of the box which was fisted away by the Jamshedpur custodian.
The second one was pile-driver from Lalrindika Ralte which was once again kept away from goal by the excellent Paul. The third one was the best chance of the half when Marcinho excuted a couple of step-overs before launching a shot at goal. Paul dived to his right to keep the ball away.
It was an exciting first half in Jamshedpur with NorthEast United enjoying the lion’s share of possession.
Coppell brought in his first substitute Mehtab Hossain in the second half, replacing Ashim Biswas who failed to create any impact in the first half. Mehtab partnered Memo in the central midfield and Wellington Priori moved up to occupy the number 10 position just behind striker Izu Azuka.
Priori broke the deadlock in the 51st minute with a sensational volleyed strike with his back to goal from Izu Azuka’s throw-in. He just took one touch and struck the volley to put Jamshedpur in front against his former side.
Grant’s men went all out after conceding the first goal. They shifted to a 4-3-3 formation with Marcinho, Sema and Len Doungel upfront. The former Chelsea coach brought in John Mosquera in the 67th minute in place of Martin Diaz to add more firepower in the attacking third. With Mosquera’s inclusion, Marcinho tracked back a bit and focused on creating the chances from the midfield.
Coppell’s side, on the other hand, concentrated on consolidating their backline. Andre Bikey and Tiri along with Mehtab and Memo were kept busy by The Highlanders.
In what was his last throw of the dice, Grant introduced Danilo Lopez upfront in place of winger Maic Sema. Malemnganba Meitei replaced Lalrindika Ralte and operated on the left flank. Grant changed the shape of the team yet again to 4-2-4 with Meitei, Len, Danilo and Mosquera upfront. Marcinho took the onus of creating the moves upon himself.
Just like their previous matches, The Highlanders once again failed to produce a positive result after dominating almost the entire match. A moment brilliance from Wellington Priori sealed the fate of the match in favour of the home side.
Jamshedpur move up to the third position on the league table after tonight’s win. They are tied on 25 points with FC Pune City after 15 matches, having played one more game than the Stallions.