The Islanders fell to another defeat against Jamshedpur FC with Memo’s goal in the 80th minute making all the difference. The home side extended their unbeaten run against the Islanders to 4 matches with 3 wins and a draw.
Modou Sougou returned to the starting XI after missing out on injury against FC Goa. The Boss also handed a maiden start to Vignesh as he made a total of 4 changes for the clash in Jamshedpur with Marko Klisura, Vignesh Dakshinamurthy, Bipin Singh and Sougou replacing Anwar Ali, Subhasish Bose, Arnold Issoko and Matias Mirabaje respectively. The game started on a difficult note for both the sides with rain playing a major part in it and making it difficult initially to take charge of the proceedings.
Brazilian midfielder Rafael Bastos looked lively in the opening minutes by constantly troubling the home defence. Jamshedpur FC full-back Robin Gurung was cautioned as early as the 8th minute for a late tackle on Bastos. The first real chance for the Islanders came in the 15th minute after Sougou won a free-kick on the left flank. Paulo Machado took the set-piece and tried to catch Subrata Paul off his line but his effort went onto the roof of the net.
The home side tested Amrinder Singh from distance with Farukh Choudhary attempting from distance but it eventually was an easy save. Just at the half an hour mark, a brilliant cross from the impressive Bastos found an unmarked Paulo Machado in the box but he was unable to keep his shot on target from a few yards out. At the other end, Souvik Chakrabarti stopped Bikash Jairu in his strides and got himself booked for a foul.
A poor back pass from Pratik Chowdhary in the 42nd minute almost put Modou Sougou through on goal but Subrata saved the blushes and cleared the ball away. It was a tight performance from both sides, giving each other very minimum space to open up the scoring in the first 45 minutes of the action.
Jamshedpur FC began the second half with two free-kicks on either flank but the defence stood strong and cleared the danger away on both the occasions. Sougou’s name was taken down in the referee’s book after he brought down Farukh near the midway line, the game was picking up pace slowly. Lucian Goian nearly scored an own goal after trying to clear the ball away but instead, it whisked past Amrinder’s goal. The home side was pushing hard for the opening goal.
Both the sides made changes as Sanju Pradhan replaced Bipin Singh and Sumeet Passi coming on for Bikash Jairu. There was constant pressure from Jamshedpur FC with the Islanders sitting deep and holding away everything that was thrown at them. With 15 minutes to go, Souvik tried his luck from distance but it deflected away for a corner. Paulo Machado put in a good ball but unfortunately, it didn’t find a blue shirt in the box. In the next minute, Lucian Goian stopped a counter-attack for the home side by fouling Pablo Morgado and in the process collected his fourth booking of the season. With this, it also means that he will miss our home game against NorthEast United FC due to suspension.
The home side opened the scoring in the 80th minute with Memo heading the ball into an empty net after Amrinder’s punch was met by the Brazilian's head. The Islanders’ resilience was broken down and the Boss made an immediate change with Matias Mirabaje replacing Bastos. There was not much of a threat going forward from the away side as the home defence looked destined to snatch a win against the second-placed side.
Mohammed Rafique came off the bench once again to replace the hard-working Vignesh who put in a good shift at the left-back position. In the first minute of the allocated four minutes of stoppage time, Marko Klisura had a good chance to equalize but he missed to connect Lucian Goian’s low drilling cross. The Islanders tried to get back into the game but failed to pick up anything in a disappointing performance away from home. Jamshedpur FC held on for 3 crucial points to move onto 23 points but remain in the 5th position.
Meanwhile, the Islanders stay on the 2nd spot with 27 points from 15 games despite the back-to-back losses. Up next is a battle against NorthEast United FC at the Arena on 13th February with the Islanders looking to finish the home campaign on a high and making a strong claim for a playoff spot.