Coming on the back of a draw against SC East Bengal, Jamshedpur FC took the early initiative of climbing to the top of the table after dominating FC Goa for a 3-1 win in a 2021-22 Hero Indian Super League (ISL) match at the Athletic Stadium in Bambolim on Friday.
Nerijus Valskis (51', 61') was the hero of the match as he remained one shy of a perfect hat-trick, managing to first drive the ball with his left foot and then score via a header. Jordan Murray (80') scored the third right after coming off the bench. Airam Cabrera denied the Men of Steel a clean sheet with a neat finish to register a goal in the 86th minute.
Juan Ferrando rung in the changes after a heavy opening weekend defeat. Jorge Ortiz was brought in as Devendra Murgaonkar led the line. Airam Cabrera was relegated to the bench. Reliance Foundation Young Champs Academy graduate Muhammed Nemil, who had recovered from his injury, was included in the matchday squad for the very first time. Fresh off winning the Scottish Premiership with Rangers under Steven Gerrard, Greg Stewart made his first start for Jamshedpur FC on Indian soil. Komal Thatal found a place on the wing as Eli Sabia was dropped.
Thatal was rather brilliant after kickoff. The Sikkim-born forward first found Jitendra inside the box with some help from Stewart. Soon, he tested the opposition defenders with a dangerous cross, all within the first quarter of an hour. While Goa enjoyed greater possession, Jamshedpur had the better chances through set pieces. Playing in a flat 4-4-2, Jamshedpur ensured that Goa could not find empty spaces to launch pressing attacks.
With five minutes to go in the first half, Len Doungel failed to punish his former side. The winger was played through after a misplaced pass. He first shot onto Dheeraj and subsequently skied the rebound. Valskis too tried his luck but Dheeraj caught the ball after Glan Martins lost possession of the ball in midfield.
Right after the break, FC Goa threatened Jamshedpur with a freekick but Rehenesh kept it at bay as Alberto Noguera was denied. At the other end, Valskis made his long-ranger count and snapped his 10-game goalless run with a left-footed strike to break the deadlock.
With the monkey off his back, Valskis doubled his tally in under ten minutes. Greg Stewart's curling freekick was met by the Lithuanian, who rose highest inside the box and nodded home. Jordan Murray barely was on the pitch when he added the third for the Red Miners, with his first touch of the game.
Stewart proved to be a menace with his quality humbling the FC Goa midfield. While Ferrando kept on refreshing the legs on the pitch, there was no real attempt at finding a breakthrough as the Gaurs witnessed early season blues. While they did score a solitary goal, the match was dominated completely by Jamshedpur.
FC Goa look towards their next match against NorthEast to put an end to their defeats while Jamshedpur FC face Hyderabad FC next.