Jamshedpur FC lined up against Chennaiyin FC in Tuesday’s Indian Super League (ISL) action with Csaba Laszlo’s men emerging 2-1 victors. Although Chennaiyin had the last laugh, it was a game which could have swayed either way in the second half after a pulsating first 45 minutes. Not only did we get the quickest goal of the ISL season till now, this match was probably the first where both teams absolutely went for it till the last second. Here are the key talking points from an intriguing contest.
The Good: Rafael Crivellaro’s progressive passes and Anirudh Thapa’s all-round midfield performance
The Brazilian was everywhere for Chennaiyin. From breaking up play to holding the ball up in midfield and releasing the players further forward, Crivellaro looked at utmost ease doing all of it. The first goal itself came about after he won the ball from Jitendra Sharma near the halfway line and fed Isma down the right. Soon after, he again took the ball near the centre circle, carried it 30 yards before teeing up Lallianzuala Chhangte beautifully for a first time shot. The winger got his first touch wrong and made the angle too acute for himself.
In the 23rd minute, the man who created the most number of chances last season made another brilliant turn, kept hold of the ball and found Reagan Singh open on the right. Isma, Chhangte and Jakub Sylvestr were all. To make things easier for him was his teammate operating just behind him in midfield, Anirudh Thapa.
Thapa was the perfect foil for Crivellaro’s offence-mindedness as he sat back in the hole alongside Deepak Tangri who also had a good game. The India star was very economical with his passing and rarely made a mispass. His coolly finished goal in the 1st minute was probably a reminder of why he is considered one of the most intelligent young Indian players.
The Bad: The two goalkeepers who never looked convincing
Neither goalkeeper had the best of games under the lights today at Tilak Maidan. TP rehenesh in the Jamshedpur goal was partly at fault for the opening goal as he conceded Thapa’s shot at his near post. This was probably part of Chennaiyin’s strategy too as Isma, Chhangte and others aim their shots regularly at the experienced goalkeeper’s near post, hoping for a mistake from his end.
It was a similarly unconvincing night for Vishal Kaith at the Chennaiyin goal too. The 24-year-old Himachali had a relatively uneventful first half except the goal that Valskis scored. However, he couldn’t have done much to save the Lithuanian’s header. Where he should have been better though is his handling of aerial balls in the second half. Firstly, in the 64th minute he came out of his line to claim a hopeful ball that was aimed towards Stephen Eze’s penalty box run. He failed to reach it and was lucky that Eze’s header was wide. Then in the 68th minute and under no pressure from anyone, he fumbled a simple grab, hit Fanai’s head with the ball and the resulting shot had to be cleared by Enes Sipovic just inside the 6-yard box.
The Ugly: The angry coming together between players in the 73rd minute
In what was the first player altercation of the season, albeit a small one, the Jamshedpur players converged on Rahim Ali after he played on even though a Jamshedpur player lay injured. It was Narender Gehlot who was injured and stayed down. However, a long ball was played out to Ali who received it nonchalantly and ran at the Jamshedpur defence.
The Red Miners had initially stopped for a second expecting him to play the ball out. He didn’t and instead laid it off for Chhangte whose shot was tipped over. Ali was pushed and shoved as soon as the ball went out as the Jamshedpur players converged on him. Credit to him though, as he kept his cool and did not retaliate. Credit to the referee too, who had a good game overall and handled this particular situation very well.