Goals from Harry Sawyer and Ritwik Das helped Jamshedpur FC come from behind against East Bengal FC on Friday to clinch their first win in 10 games in this edition of the Indian Super League at the Vivekananda Yuba Bharati Krirangan in Kolkata.
Cleiton Silva had put the Torch Bearers ahead in the first half with his ninth goal of the season, before the home team let lead slip this season, along with a chance to go clear of Bengaluru FC in the playoff qualification race with a game in hand.
The hosts made three changes to their starting XI. Sarthak Golui replaced Jerry Lalrinzuala on the left side of defence, as Suhair VP returned to the right flank after serving his suspension in the last match. The final change saw Charis Kyriakou replace Jordan O’Doherty in midfield.
The visitors made two changes. Pratik Chaudhari and Boris Singh returned to the starting lineup as Jay Thomas and Ishan Pandita dropped to the bench.
In the 12th minute, Alex Lima muscled his way past his marker before playing it through to Naorem Singh on the left side. The winger cut the ball back onto his right foot and got the shot away. The effort was saved but spilled by Vishal Yadav right in front of Silva, who made no mistake in poking the ball into an empty net.
Seven minutes later, Jamshedpur had a chance to draw themselves level when Eli Sabia’s freekick from the defensive third found Ritwik Das near the penalty area. Ritwik played it into the path of an unmarked Boris, whose shot only rippled the side net. The chance came two minutes after Silva’s free-kick was claimed comfortably by Yadav at the other end.
Ivan Gonzalez was a rock at the back for East Bengal FC in the first half. The defender made four crucial interceptions and blocked two shots, one of which was hit with power from inside the box by Rafael Crivellaro in the 37th minute.
In the second half, approaching the hour-mark, Aidy Boothroyd made three changes as Germanpreet Singh, Pandita and Sawyer were introduced into the game. The decision changed the entire complexion of the game, as parity was restored just three minutes after the substitutions.
In the 61st minute, the East Bengal FC defence failed to get the ball out of danger as it eventually came to Pandita, whose shot from the edge of the box was blocked by Lalchungnunga before Sawyer poked the rebound in from close range.
The comeback was complete five minutes from time when Sawyer used his physical strength to shield the ball before playing it out to Germanpreet on the right flank. The midfielder’s pin-point cross was headed in by Ritwik as the Red Miners held on to the narrow lead till the full-time whistle.
East Bengal FC remain in ninth place, still a point behind Bengaluru FC with a game in hand. The Torch Bearers will host Hyderabad FC next on January 20, Friday. Jamshedpur FC also stay in tenth place, but they have cut the deficit between them and East Bengal FC to three points now. The Red Miners will host Bengaluru FC next on January 18, Thursday.