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Jamshedpur FC looked like a rejuvenated side as they created more chances in front of the goal in the second half

The spate of draws that had marred Owen Coyle’s Jamshedpur FC this season finally came to an end on Friday evening after a 1-0 win over NorthEast United FC. 

They had played out four draws, a win and a loss in their six matches prior to this game and an inability to convert results was starting to become a concern. However, after a fighting performance against a side that was unbeaten going into the game, Coyle must be pleased. 

Coyle is slowly and gradually stamping his mark on Jamshedpur FC. After the opening day loss to Chennaiyin FC, a game in which they suffered two injuries and missed at least a couple of key players, the Men of Steel have been resilient, to say the least.
 
In the following five matches, they haven’t suffered a defeat and have gone on to defeat the reigning champions, ATK Mohun Bagan, stop Mumbai City FC’s winning run and end NorthEast United’s unbeaten streak.

However, it was not a game to remember by any means. There was a lack of intensity in the final third from both sides which did not make for a good watch. It was no wonder that both teams registered only one shot on target in the first half. 

There was no real flow to the game, with both sets of players misplacing their passes, with a lot of long balls being the feature of the day. Jamshedpur FC, in particular, missed Aitor Monroy in the game as their distribution looked scrappy in the first half.

NorthEast United vs Jamshedpur

While Nerijus Valskis cut a frustrated figure due to the lack of service, Idryssa Sylla and Kwesi Appiah were also in a similar predicament at the other end. The defences of both sides reigned supreme, with Peter Hartley and Benjamin Lambot shining. 

However, after the break, Jamshedpur improved slightly and started opened up spaces in between the NorthEast backline. Though the quality in the final third was still missing, promising positions were opening up for the Men of Steel. 

It was only fitting that a fortuitous deflection paved the way for Aniket Jadhav to open the scoring, though he reacted well to convert the chance. However, Jamshedpur’s lack of clinical finishing and clumsiness at the other end could have seen them throw away another lead. 

Before the start of the season, the goalkeeper was a position which was identified was their Achilles Heel. However, T.P.Rehenesh, apart from the mistake made against Odisha FC where he was sent-off, the Kerala-born custodian has been at his best.
 
The former Kerala Blasters goalkeeper once again was called upon when NorthEast United won a penalty, after a clumsy foul by Stephen Eze. Rehenesh dived to his left to deny Idrissa Sylla a chance to equalize and thus, help his side retain their slender 1-0 lead.

For NorthEast United, this will be the real test of their resolve. It must be remembered that last season too, they made a fantastic start under Robert Jarni and had 10 points from six games. But thereafter, a few injuries and their season went downhill and they never really recovered.
 
Although Gerard Nus has assured that this season won’t be a repeat of what one saw last time around, it remains to be seen how they react to this result. What is certainly fortunate is that their next game is against Odisha FC, a team struggling for form and confidence.

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December 19, 2020
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