SC East Bengal interim coach Renedy Singh created history starting with an all-Indian lineup. However, the encounter was rather an uneventful one with both the teams registering only one shot on the target. Despite the attacking woes, Jamshedpur FC took away all the three points from the game when super sub-Ishan Pandita scored a screamer in the 88th minute coming off the bench.
Taking away full points from the game narrowly, Jamshedpur FC reached the top spot on the Indian Super League table with 19 points from 11 games. While at the same time SC East Bengal could muster only six points from the same number of games.
We at The Bridge selected out some highlighting moments from the game.
Renedy Singh and his challenges
Renedy Singh took up a huge challenge as he took charge of a shambolic SC East Bengal after coach Jose Manuel Diaz's departure. He was faced with more dilemmas with most of the foreign contingent being unavailable for selection owing to injuries.
With Daniel Chima leaving the country over personal issues, and Antonio Perosevic serving suspension, Singh took a huge decision in his last game as an interim manager. He fielded a starting XI comprising entirely of Indian players. The endeavour was the first to ever happen in the history of the Indian Super League.
Keeping in mind the brilliant performances of Ankit Mukherjee, Hira Mondal, and Adil Khan in the back, Singh deployed an unchanged defence. Along with Mohammed Rafique, Hnamte and Haokip Semboi also made their way into the starting lineup following good performances.
Jamshedpur FC remains threatening through set-pieces
Jamshedpur FC has scored almost 55% of their goals through set-pieces. The encounter against SC East Bengal was no different in the amount of threat these set pieces produced. Out of seven corners awarded to the Men of Steel in the first half itself, Jamshedpur FC has come close to scoring three of them through the likes of Jordan Murray, Eli Sabia, and Peter Hartley. However, they have missed narrowly owning to an offside as well. However a lack of finishing deprived them of extending the leader board.
Speaking of threats possessed by Jamshedpur FC, Ishan Pandita deserved a strong mention. The former Goa man created an instant impact coming off the bench as well as finding the winner for the Men of Steel.
A battle of stout defences
Renedy Singh is purely deserving of credit to organize the SC East Bengal defence. Even with the absence of their foreign defenders, skipper Tomislav Mrcela and Franjo Prce, SC East Bengal defence had stood out to some of the most resilient attacks like Mumbai City FC and Bengaluru FC. In their last four encounters, the team conceded only two goals. The duo of Adil Khan and Hira Mondal, recently joined by Ankit Mukherjee remained firm even on facing the challenges of the likes of Jordan Murray and Greg Stewart. However, Adil Khan left the pitch injured in the 56th minute which would be a huge worry for the Kolkata Giants if he stays away for a long time.
As for Jamshedpur FC, Owen Coyle's men have already established themselves as the most standout defence in the tournament. Although East Bengal didn't provide many tests for Peter Hartley or Eli Sabia, the duo did quite a good job keeping Semboi and Rafique at bay. At the same time, the Men of Steel absolutely dominated the numerical advantages throughout the game.
Greg Stewart and Jordan Murray continue to impress despite wastefulness
Coming into the game, Greg Stewart announced his presence as the forward was awarded the Player of the month for December. Scoring five goals along with bagging five assists Greg Stewart, was almost a huge threat to the Kolkata Giants. Almost all of the goal mouth actions for Owen Coyle's side came from Stewart along with Jordan Murray.
Among these two, there was only one shot on target. The closest being the 52nd-minute header by Murray. Despite bringing constant threats to the Red and Gold Brigade, the forwards failed to register any goal. The lack of goals from such prolific scorers can be resonated with their unfortunate wastefulness upfront along with some brilliant defending from the likes of Adil Khan and Ankit.
However, the impact of Greg Stewart can still be credited with his work rate and calculated movements. He was one of the prime reasons that Owen Coyle's side dominated the possession as well as other aspects of the game.
Scoring woes continue for SC East Bengal
With the stalemate, SC East Bengal continue to sit at the bottom of the table with seven points from 11 games played. In those eleven games, the Kolkata Giants have scored only 11 goals while conceding 19 at the same time.
Although looking at their last five encounters, it seems that they have closely organized their defensive worries. However, the attacking woes continue to haunt.
The reason for this can be stated manifoldly. It can be resonated with the absence of Antonio Perosevic for a long time as well as Daniel Chima not living up to the expectations. Although SC East Bengal took as many as eight shots against Jamshedpur FC they could register only one on target. Despite the numerous tries from Semboi, Rafique Hnamte, and Mahesh Singh, the Red and Gold Brigade could not register any shot.
However, SC East Bengal remains hopeful of solving their attacking issues with the arrival of Brazilian forward Marcelo Ribeiro from Gil Vicente FC on loan till the end of the season.