Jamshedpur FC knocked I-League champions Minerva Punjab out of Super Cup 2018 by beating them 5-4 in penalty-shootout. Goalkeeper Sanjiban Ghosh remained unbeatable under the bar for the Men of Steel to take his team forward in the competition.
Steve Coppell fielded his starting XI in a familiar 4-4-1-1 formation with Wellington Priori operating just behind forward Kervens Belfort with Trindade Goncalves playing at the heart of the midfield alongside Memo. Anas Edathodika partnered Andre Bikey in central defence. Right-back Robin Gurung got his first start in Jamshedpur jersey this season. Sanjiban Ghosh too made his second appearance in the absence of regular goalkeeper Subrata Paul.
Minerva Punjab saw Girik Khosla getting a start up front with Chencho Gyeltshen and Randeep Singh operating on the flanks. William Opoku was deployed just behind Khosla.
It was an end-to-end yet profligate affair right from kick-off which saw both the teams operating at a similar pace. The I-League champions did not hesitate to press high up the field against a staunch Jamshedpur defensive unit.
Minerva got their first major chance to score in the 20th minute. Opoku's free-kick was on target but was kept out brilliantly by Sanjiban. Deepak Devrani was in front of the goal and he only had to tap the ball in from the rebound. But the defender made a mess of the chance by blasting it above the crossbar from a handshaking distance.
The Men of Steel came very close to taking the lead in the 25th minute when Bikash Jairu’s curling shot kissed goal post and went out. Raju Yumnam floated a cross from the left flank which was initially meant for Kervens Belfort, but the Haitian failed to make a connection and it fell to Jairu. The winger curled the ball onto the post.
The Warriors squandered yet another chance just minutes before the half-time whistle. Akashdeep Singh forwarded a through ball down the left flank for Girik Khosla who took the ball into the box but failed to get the better of a Sanjiban Ghosh who pulled off a good save again.
In the 56th minute, William Opoku missed a big chance to score. Akashdeep's curling set-piece was kept out by Sanjiban but Opoku had the chance to slot the ball home from the rebound. The Minerva skipper’s header went wide.
It was all square after 90 minutes of football as the match headed to extra time.
Chencho missed two of the biggest chances of the match in the second half of extra time. The first chance saw Chencho beating the tired Jamshedpur defence using sheer pace before cutting in from the right flank and hitting the ball straight at Sanjiban. The second opportunity was when he followed a through ball from Moinuddin Khan but once again hit straight at the in-form goalie.
Coppell's men emerged victorious in the penalty shootout that followed 5-4 to book their berth in the last eight stage. For Minerva, Kiran Chemjong, Moinuddin Khan and Bali Gagandeep missed their penalties while Memo and Bikash Jairu failed to convert for the winners.