Jamshedpur: Jamshedpur FC’s Jerry Mawhmingthanga scored the fastest goal in the history of the Indian Super League to give the home side the lead just 22 seconds after kick-off. Since then, Steve Coppell’s side did not look back against Kerala Blasters, eventually winning 2-1 after Ashim Biswas had added another in the first half.
It was a vital win for Jamshedpur, and keeps their hopes of making the top four alive — and also brought an end to David James’ unbeaten three-match streak since taking over the reigns at Kerala.
Ashim was involved in the opening goal as well when his turn-and-shot attempt was slightly deflected into the path of Jerry, who quickly latched onto the loose ball, rounded Paul Rachubka and slotted it past him to start the game with a flurry. Iain Hume then saw his thumping header from a corner cleared off the line by Yumnam Raju. But it was all Jamshedpur in the opening 15 minutes and Kerala took some time getting adjusted to the pace of the game. Their troubles worsened when key midfielder and new signing Keziron Kizito had to come off due to a shoulder injury — and was later seen heavily strapped in the technical area.
Jamshedpur extended their lead when Bikash Jairu’s cross was missed by both Jerry and Sandesh Jhingan. Ashim was waiting though, and swept it into the net with power and placement to make it 2-0 to give his side an uncharacteristic lead. Coppell had promised that his side would play on the attack and it was refreshing to see them go all out in the search for three points.
The first 20 minutes of the second half were cagey at best. Jamshedpur were playing on the break, having got their goals in the first period. As for Kerala, their frustrations were captured in one moment when Hume kicked out at Jerry after being challenged from behind.
The game needed a goal to open up, but it came too late, when Mark Sifneos, who had come on for the frustrated Hume, tapped in a header from close range in injury time.
The second half saw more fouls and arguments than openings though. There was only one notable chance for Jamshedpur, when Jerry’s fizzing delivery found Izu Azuka’s head, but his attempt didn’t go in. He was at it again when a long ball found him on the left channel, but he tried to open up his body and Jhingan had read the danger.
Jamshedpur’s game management saw off the final few minutes to record their first home win of the season.
The win took Jamshedpur to 7th position, on 13 points, just one behind Kerala Blasters with a game in hand, and above ATK. It also throws open the battle for 4th position in a big way.