ISL 2017-18: Ten-man Jamshedpur FC hold NorthEast United FC to goalless draw
North East United FC dictated terms in their Indian Super League 2017 opener against new franchise Jamshedpur FC, down to 10 men for the last 20 minutes of play. But they ran into a wall called Subrata Paul and had to be satisfied with a goalless draw. (NEU vs JAM highlights)
On a day when the visitors’ fancied imports such as South African midfielder Sameegh Doutie and Nigerian forward Azuka Izu and the homegrown midfielder Mehtab Hossain were off-colour, Paul stepped up his game a few notches to make at least half a dozen spectacular saves.
For the highlanders, Brazilian midfielder Marcinho was the stand-out player, creating chances for his teammates or coming close to scoring. But Portuguese coach Joao de Deus’ boys either shot wide off the mark, Marcinho the culprit at least seven times, or into a defender.
Paul aside, luck favoured the visitors too. Brazilian striker Danilo Cezario had only the goalkeeper to beat when he collected a through ball from Marcinho in the 60th minute. But his chip skidded past the upright.
Five minutes later, NEUFC midfielder Lalrindika Ralte saw his shot blocked on the goal line by Jamshedpur defender Anas Edathodika. A few seconds later, Marcinho’s header struck the goal post as Paul made a rare miss.
Paul made up two minutes later, sliding to his left to keep out a Cezario shot after dribbling past a couple of defenders.
NEUFC DOMINATE FIRST HALF
As expected, midfielder Rowllin Borges was missing from the NEUFC line-up. But Marcinho more than made up for his absence by taking charge of the attack of the dominant highlanders with a 21,000-strong partisan crowd behind them.
Marcinho had a chance in the 4th minute, trapping a cross from Swiss defender Jose Goncalves in the Jamshedpur box only to shoot the ball over the bar.
The Marcinho-Goncalves combination tested the Jamshedpur defence four minutes later from the left flank. But Subrata Paul, in sublime form, fisted off Goncalves’ shot for a corner the highlanders wasted.
After striker Seiminlen’s left-footer that found a Jamshedpur defender, Marcinho fired another cross from the corner but Brazilian midfielder Adilson Goiano’s header was off target.
Jamshedpur appeared to be a bundle of nerves, almost proving English coach Stephen James Coppell’s right in saying on the eve of the match that he was in the dark about his team.
The visitor’s South African midfielder Sameegh Doutie was somewhat off-colour as was Nigerian forward Azuka Izu. Doutie, though, created a chance for Jerry Mawhmingthanga in the 45th minute, but the forward from Mizoram failed to connect with his left foot cleanly.
“Our boys played well but luck just did not favour them. We have some brushing up to do to find the target,” NEUFC coach de Deus said after the match.