Chennai and Jamshedpur fight out in the vital mid-table clash of Indian Football League 2020-21. It’s a must-win game for both sides to stay in the playoff contention.
Match Timings: Feb 10, 7:30 PM IST
When 2021 started, Jamshedpur was the main contender to finish in the top four, but disappointing performances in the last five weeks put them behind in the race. In the last outing, they suffered a 2-1 defeat to drop points for the sixth time in the last seven matches. Nerijus Valskis’s early effort from free-kick went wide. The Reds and Gold netted a goal in the 6th minute when Matti Steinmann produced a fine header through Narayan’s corner-kick. The red Miners got some chances, but Bengal took the first half with 1-1.
Bengal was in dominating mood in the early second half with Naryan Das. In the 68th minute, Bengal doubled the lead. Anthony Pilkington sent the ball into the net through a fine pass from Steinnman. The Irishman could have netted one more, but it hit the woodwork. Red Miners tried to come back with Hartley's goal through a header, which evolved with Isaac Vanmalsawma's fine cross. Valskis almost pulled off an equaliser in injury-time, but Subrata made a fine save. In 2021, Red Miners suffered four defeats and played two goalless draws. Jamshedpur now have four matches to play, and with 18 points, they have to win all remaining fixtures for the playoffs.
Meanwhile, Chennai were held for a draw in the last outing, and they are also in the same boat. A defeat or a draw will close the door for playoffs. Marina Machans were in the hunt for the playoffs in mid-January, but they lacked in the performance in the last couple of weeks. Excellent goalkeeping skills from Gurpreet Singh Sandhu hurt Chennai to get three points at Fatorda. Chennai were good in the first quarter of the game. The first shot on target came from Esmael Goncalves, and Gurpreet Singh’s low shot offered a chance to Rahim Ali, who missed out a strike. Lallianzuala Chhangte came close to strike, but his shot was denied by Gurpreet. Manuel Lanzarote tried a free-kick shot near the corner flag, but Gurpreet jumped out, and the ball hit the cross-bar.
Gurpreet made another fine save when Lanzarote pushed a ball behind the Bengaluru back-line, and Esmael Goncalves’s shot from close range was blocked by Gurpreet. Chhangte could have scored twice, but Gurpreet made a fine dive to stop his fine shot. Chennai’s attack was strong, but they couldn’t convert their chances into the goal. Marina Machans are winless from the last five matches, and out of the last ten matches, Chennai won just one game. They had the spark at the beginning of this year, but it faded away with every game. After a hard-fought draw against Mumbai, Chennai showed caliber, but inconsistency is hurting them.
Possible Lineups & Current Form
Vishal Kaith (GK), Reagan Singh, Enes Sipovic, Eli Sabia, Jerry Lalrinzuala, Lallianzuala Chhangte, Manuel Lanzarote, Anirudh Thapa, Memo Moura, Rahim Ali, Esmael Goncalves
Current Form: D L D L D
Previous Match: goalless draw with Bengaluru
TP Rehenesh, Laldinliana Renthlei, Stephen Eze, Peter Hartley, Narendar Gahlot, Mobashir Rahman, Alex Lima, Farukh Choudhary, Len Doungel, Nick Fitzgerald, Nerijus Valskis
Current Form: L W D D L
Previous Match: 2-1 defeat to Bengal
4 goals in Indian Football League 2020-21
2 goals in Indian Football League 2020-21
8 goals in Indian Football League 2020-21
3 goals in Indian Football League 2020-21