Jamshedpur FC ended NorthEast United FC’s unbeaten start to Hero Indian Super League (Hero ISL) 2020-21 after a 1-0 win over the Highlanders at the Tilak Maidan Stadium in Vasco on Friday. In what was the 500th match of the Hero ISL, Aniket Jadhav scored the only goal of the game for Jamshedpur in the 53rd minute, while Idrissa Sylla missed a chance to level the score for the Highlanders from the penalty spot.
After a quiet opening 17 minutes, NorthEast had a sighter at goal after Sylla chested a ball down for Kwesi Appiah, who drove into the box but dragged his shot wide. Appiah went closer to giving NorthEast the lead in the 24th minute when his freekick from a dangerous area was inches wide of goal.
The closest Jamshedpur came to taking the lead in the first half was in the 41st minute when Stephen Eze’s header off a cross went over the crossbar. Owen Coyle’s men, in fact, ended the half better of the two sides but couldn’t quite create any noteworthy chances to score from as the teams went into the break goalless.
The second half witnessed NorthEast earn another freekick in a promising area in the 51st minute. This time it was Sylla who took the freekick but like Appiah in the first half, the Guinean striker put the ball over the crossbar.
Jamshedpur, though, weren’t going to let their chance go to waste two minutes later. Young Aniket was the man who broke the deadlock after a Jackichand Singh cross from the left was finished off tidily from near the six-yard box by the 20-year-old.
High on confidence, Aniket then made a surging run into the box from midfield moments later and beat a few players along the way before firing his effort off target. NorthEast responded with a shot from Luis Machado after Sylla had set him up in the box. Machado’s shot seemed like it was going into the net, but Peter Hartley got his boot to the ball and made a crucial intervention.
The Highlanders continued to push and earned a penalty in the 65th minute following a clash between Eze and Benjamin Lambot in the box. Sylla was entrusted with taking the penalty and unfortunately for NorthEast, his penalty to the left of the goalkeeper was saved by TP Rehenesh.
The resulting corner led to a venomous shot from the edge of the box by Khassa Camara that went fractions wide of the target. Jamshedpur then hit the post in the 79th minute after a Jackichand cross from the right ended up floating over and deceiving the goalkeeper before striking the woodwork.
NorthEast threw more men up front looking to level the score during the closing stages of the contest. Jamshedpur, though, kept their shape and discipline with skipper Hartley leading by example. In the end, NorthEast couldn’t muster any good chances to equalise as Jamshedpur held on for a narrow win.