Khalid Jamil made a winning start as NorthEast United head coach with a 2-1 win over Jamshedpur at the Tilak Maidan on Sunday. The result ends NEUFC's seven-game winless run and propels them to fifth on the points table.
Ashutosh Mehta (36') put NEUFC ahead with his first ever ISL goal before substitute Deshorn Brown (61') doubled it on his debut. Jamshedpur skipper Stephen Hartley (89') pulled one back for his side late in the game but despite pressing the NEUFC defense hard in the second half, Owen Coyle's side slumped to a third straight defeat.
NEUFC were the better side in the opening half, dominating possession and creating goal-scoring opportunities. They deservedly went into the break with a one-goal cushion, which could have been more, but for some crucial saves by JFC goalkeeper TP Rehenesh.
It was Jamshedpur who created the first big chance of the game in the 8th minute but NEUFC custodian Subasish Roy Chowdhury denied them the opener. After Jamshedpur won a throw-in, Khassa Camara's poor clearance fell towards Nerijus Valskis, who found Jadhav just outside the box. The youngster, in turn, whipped a cross back for Valskis, who controlled the ball and struck a volley that was saved by Chowdhury.
NEUFC had a big chance in the 32nd minute. Luis Machado, a constant livewire in the first half, came close to breaking the deadlock but Rehenesh did well to keep it out thanks to an acrobatic effort. Suhair VP delivered a cross for the Machado, who's overhead kick was saved.
Just four minutes later Federico Gallego delivered a lovely corner and Mehta rose above his marker at the near post to head the ball into the net.
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Jamshedpur started strong in the second half, pushing their opponents on the back foot. However, a defensive error saw them concede again. Isaac Vanmalsawma, brought on at half time, gave the ball away, Gallego received it from Machado and threaded a through pass for substitute Brown, who slotted it past Rehenesh.
Jamshedpur had a chance to cut short their deficit after Chowdhury put himself in trouble, courtesy of a miscued goal kick. The ball was intercepted by Valskis, who ran into the box and shot on goal but Chowdhury redeemed himself with a crucial save.
Jamshedpur scored late in the game through Hartley from a corner, his first goal for the club.
They continued to test NEUFC and could've bagged a dramatic equaliser in injury time, had Valskis not fluffed another chance - heading over from a Hartley long ball.
The result sees Jamshedpur slip to 8th with 13 points in 12. They face high-flying Hyderabad FC next on the 24th, while NorthEast's next match is against ATK Mohun Bagan on the 26th .