The Indian Super League encounter between Jamshedpur FC and Chennaiyin FC at GMC Athletic Stadium in Bambolim, Goa was a quiet but enthralling affair with Chennaiyin snatching the win by 1-0. It was Lukas Gikiewicz who broke the deadlock in the 31st minute as he headed in a brilliant free kick from Vladimir Koman and Jamshedpur FC couldn't find a way to come back after that.
This win takes Chennaiyin to the third in the table while Jamshedpur stays sixth. Sajid Dhot was adjudged the Hero of the Match for his sensational display in defence on debut.
The match saw a lot of sensational moments. The Bridge looks at five of them.
Impressive Debut from Sajid Dhot
Chennaiyin FC completed the transfer of Mohammad Sajid Dhot from Odisha FC for free just at the start of the January transfer window and head coach Bozidar Bandovic didn't wait too long to give him his first start for the Marina Machans. The 24-year old centre back from Punjab had previously played 19 games across four seasons for Delhi Dynamos and Odisha FC but was never a regular starter for either of them.
However, Chennaiyin have shown a lot of faith in him and in his first match, he really looked promising as he made quite a few crucial clearances and tackles to deny Jamshedpur FC's forwards any chance at goal.
Greg Stewart Couldn't Impact the Game
Before this match, Jamshedpur FC's attacking midfielder Greg Stewart had five goals and four assists to his name in eight games making him the joint top goal contributor alongside Igor Angulo averaging more than one goal/assist every game. It was expected that the Scottish footballer would be influential once again today but his influence was largely neutralized by Chennaiyin midfielders and defenders. Chennaiyin FC also made sure they didn't give any free kick in his preferred areas and this was one of the main reasons for Men of Steel's inability to find the back of the net.
Lukas Gikiewicz Scores his Debut ISL Goal
Chennaiyin FC signed Lukas Gikiewicz from East Riffa on a free transfer before the start of the season. However, 'only four foreigners in the starting eleven' rule allowed Gikiewicz only two starts in eight games where all he could do was to get an assist against ATK Mohun Bagan. He finally got off the mark against Jamshedpur FC today with a brilliant header beating Rehenesh TP. Chennaiyin fans would be hoping for more such goals from their Polish forward going deep into the season.
Vishal Kaith Dropped
Vishal Kaith joined Chennaiyin FC in 2019 from Pune City FC and ever since he has been their No.1 in every competitive game but that run came to an end today. Vishal's mistakes against Kerala Blasters and Bengaluru FC cost Chennaiyin and after conceding eleven goals in eight games, a huge section of the fan base had turned against him.
This prompted Head Coach Bozidar Bandovic to finally take this big decision to bench the Himachal Pradesh shot-stopper and instead start Debjit Majumder in his place. Majumder had a much better game than Kaith had in his past few games and this would certainly give Marina Machans some relief.
Jamshedpur suffering from Valskis Hangover
Jamshedpur FC lost their star striker Nerijus Valskis to Chennaiyin FC just before this game and his absence was really felt at the Jharkhand based club. Owen Coyle's men created a lot of chances and had much more attempts on goal than their opponents but they couldn't finish a single of them. Jordan Murray was good in patches but he is not an exact replacement for Valskis and that was quite evident from the start.
Jamshedpur FC are looking to replace Valskis in the transfer window and their fans would want it to happen as soon as possible.
Jamshedpur FC play North East United FC next while Chennaiyin FC will meet FC Goa on January 8th in the same ground.