Jamshedpur FC registered their first win of the Indian Super League (ISL) season after beating ATK Mohun Bagan 2-1. In what was a hugely entertaining match at the Tilak Maidan stadium, Nerijus Valskis’ goals on either side of half-time were enough for the Men of Steel. Roy Krishna scored the consolation goal for the Mariners late in the second half.
Antonio Habas’ side were huge favourites coming into the game having won all three of their starting fixtures. However, Jamshedpur had an excellent first half. Mobashir Rahman and Valskis coming close to opening the scoring early on before the latter eventually nabbed his first of the night. Aitor Monroy’s perfectly placed corner was met impeccably by Valskis who gave Arindam Bhattacharjee no chance in goal (1-0). They put constant pressure on the Bagan defence and had a spell where they had four corners back to back.
ATK Mohun Bagan created a couple of decent openings as well. Prabir Das’ cross from the right was glanced towards goal by Roy Krishna. However, TP Rehenesh was equal to the task and made a brilliant save. He was again called to action when Glan Martins’ deflected shot almost wrong-footed him but fortunately for Jamshedpur, he recovered in time.
Bagan responded well after conceding and kept tightening the screws gradually. Roy Krishna had a couple of decent attempts as Habas asked his players to crowd the opponent’s box during set-pieces. Then he introduced Manvir Singh who instantly started causing trouble to an otherwise solid Peter Hartley. His speed and running with the ball created worrisome moments in the opposition half but the Mariners never managed to get the final pass right.
Then Valskis scored against the run of play. Mobashir Rahman tried deflecting a corner towards the back post. The ball came off a Bagan defender and fell straight into the path of the Lithuanian for him to tap it in (2-0). The marking and discipline displayed by the ATK Mohun Bagan defence in the previous matches, which has been their strength so far, was nowhere to be seen tonight on most occasions as Jamshedpur again proceeded to put pressure. Finally, they had a stroke of luck when Manvir’s back head found Krishna completely free and through on goal following a long ball. Although the Fijian was offside, the linesman failed to spot that as he rounded off Rehenesh to score (2-1).
Thereon, Jamshedpur looked a little shaky and every time they lost the ball in midfield, it felt like they might concede. Manvir produced another impressive run as he beat Hartley with pace but the veteran English defender recovered in time and took up a position that allowed him to make a tackle on Krishna just as he was about to head it in. Manvir then attempted a long-ranger himself, but could only draw a fingertip save from Rehenesh.
With this victory, Jamshedpur move to seventh in the points table while ATK Mohun Bagan stay second. Owen Coyle’s side face the other Kolkata side SC East Bengal next while the Green and Maroons lock horns against Hyderabad FC in their next fixture.