FULL-TIME: Jamshedpur FC 1-4 FC Pune City
Jamshedpur FC: 76′ Carlos Calvo (Penalty).
FC Pune City: 17′ Robin Singh; 48′ Marcelinho; 65′ Robin Singh (Assist: Ashique K.); 70′ Ashique Kuruniyan (Assist: Marcelinho)
FC Pune City derailed Jamshedpur FC’s play-off campaign and left them out in the cold after scoring four past them at The Furnace.
Pushing for a play-off place and having won only one game in their last three fixtures, Jamshedpur had to get a result tonight to get closer to fourth place. They also had a score to settle against Pune City – they lost the reverse fixture earlier in the season and have never won against Pune in the ISL.
Boosted by Carlos Calvo’s return who was coming back to the squad after being suspended for three matches, Jamshedpur started the game in attack mode as their players poured forward.
They had a chance in the third minute, but Farukh Choudhary shot wide from six yards out. Mario Arques shot on goal from a corner delivery was cleared off the goal line and an attempt from outside the box hit the post.
Completely against the run of play, Pune got the opener in the 17th minute in a goal mouth scramble which saw the ball fall kindly to Robin Singh. The forward who was free and unmarked eight yards out got his second goal in as many games.
A few minutes later, Jamshdpur’s Farukh missed his second great chance of the night to equalise.
Robin Gurung was trampled upon by Robin Singh and had to be substituted. The midfielder Sawmtea came on which meant Augustin moved to right back while Memo dropped into central defence.
The substitution and the change in personnel meant Jamshedpur looked disjointed going forward. Meanwhile, Pune City’s defence grew in confidence and kept the Red Miners at an arm’s length and ahead of them – a pattern which grew familiar as the game went on.
In first half stoppage time, Pune got a second from a Marcelinho bit of spatial awareness. An Iain Hume ball from midfield saw Marcelinho inside the box from the right flank. The keeper came out and dived at the ball only to spill it to Marcelinho who had gone beyond the keeper. The Brazilian took a half turn and finished into an empty net without even having to look at the goal. Pune were 2-0 up as the teams went into half-time.
As the running sum graph suggests, Pune continued to be in the ascendancy in the second half and got themselves a couple of goals in the 65th and 70th minute to put the game beyond doubt. Ashique set up Robin Singh in the box for the third, and he got himself a goal with his right foot after Marcelinho pulled back a ball in the box.
Tonight, the Red Miners sorely missed a forward like Tim Cahill to make those runs behind defence with Sumeet Passi completely ineffectual. While Farukh Choudhary spurned a few chances, they also missed a trick in attack and were unable to utilize the space behind Pune City’s auxiliary wingbacks Ashique and Diego Carlos. With the lack of movement, the league’s top creator Calvo and Arques mostly had to take shots from distance. It was another frustrating game for Cido as well who hasn’t hit the ground running since coming back from injury.
They did get a goal back from a penalty for handball which Carlos Calvo converted. There was a really brief flicker of a comeback after they scored as the running sum graph shows in the latter stages of the game, but it was too little, too late.
For Jamshedpur, the loss is a complete disaster and they need a mini-miracle from other results going in their favour to resurrect their claim for a play-off spot. Having narrowly missed out on the play-offs last season, this season looks like a bad case of Déjà vu.