Nerijus Valskis’ header wasn’t enough for Jamshedpur to beat Chennaiyin…
Chennaiyin put on a solid all-round performance to get off to a winning start in the 2020-21 Indian Super League campaign.
Csaba Laszlo’s team beat former Chennaiyin manager Owen Coyle’s Jamshedpur 2-1 at the Tilak Maidan on Tuesday. First-half goals from Anirudh Thapa (1′) and Isma Goncalves (26′) were enough for the two-time champions to bag the win. Nerijus Valskis (37′) opened his account for the season but was unable to bring his team back into the game.
Chennaiyin got off to a brilliant start as Anirudh Thapa opened the scoring seconds after the kick-off. After a neat exchange of passes in the centre, Rafael Crivellaro slipped a through-ball for Isma Goncalves who ran down the right flank. The forward drilled a low cross into the centre of the box for Thapa whose late run and a splendid first-time strike was more than what the Jamshedpur defence and the goalkeeper could deal with,
It was a fantastic start to the match as both teams seemed unwilling to sit back with a deep block. Jamshedpur’s attack led by last season’s Golden Boot winner Nerijus Valskis tried to press for an equaliser but it was Chennaiyin’s energetic forays forward that stood out.
Isma Goncalves had multiple opportunities to score in the first half but was finally rewarded for his athletic centre-forward play when Issac Vanmalsawma decided to nudge Lallianzuala Chhangte inside the box in the 25th minute. Chhangte felt a slight push on his back as he contested for an aerial ball inside the box and the referee pointed to the spot. Isma converted the penalty to double his team’s lead.
The former Matsumoto Yamaga striker nearly added another goal to his tally for the night three minutes later. He pulled of a lovely give-and-go with Crivellaro at the edge of the box and fired a shot towards the goal but Rehenesh pushed the effort wide.
Jamshedpur tried to build their attacks from the flanks but their attacks were well dealt with by the Chennaiyin defence until the 37th minute. The defenders failed to spot Valskis’ run into the box as Jackichand clipped a delightful cross into the box from the right flank. The Lithuanian striker got off the mark with a neat header into the net from what was his team’s first shot on target.
The Men of Steel were more proactive after the restart as they chased the game and tried to overpower the midfield. They took advantage of an unconvincing few minutes from Vishal Kaith and went close twice just after the hour-mark
Stephen Eze outjumped his marker inside the boss to meet a cross from the left but headed wide with the keeper off his line. Minutes later, Kaith failed to collect a straightforward lob into the box and pushed it straight into the feet of Jackichand Singh. The former Goa winger tried to hit an open net but found Sipovic in front of goal and the defender spared the keeper’s blushes.
The game was stretched as Jamshedpur tried to pile the pressure on the two-time champions. The Chennaiyin defence, however, was largely untroubled and Valskis’ threat was well dealt with throughout the second half.