Talking Point: Will NorthEast manage to exploit Jamshedpur’s second-half troubles?
After back-to-back losses, Jamshedpur FC will be keen on returning to winnings ways when they face NorthEast United FC at the Tilak Maidan Stadium in Vasco on Sunday. Owen Coyle’s men will want to set things right following consecutive losses, while NorthEast begin life under interim head coach Khalid Jamil. The Highlanders are on a seven-match winless run and will head into the contest knowing that a victory over Jamshedpur will see them leapfrog Coyle’s men in the standings. Here, we take a closer look at some of the variables that may decide who emerges with maximum points from the encounter.
Jamshedpur’s second half woes
Jamshedpur’s second half displays on both ends of the pitch need to get better if they want to qualify for the semis. They have scored five of their 12 goals in the second half and have conceded 10 out of 15 goals after the restart. The defeats in their last two outings saw them fail to score in the second period while conceding twice in that time. The loss against Kerala Blasters FC saw them concede twice without finding the back of the net themselves despite having a man advantage on the pitch. Jamshedpur’s dip in intensity in the second half has been evident throughout the season and needs to be addressed soon.
Machado and Gallego are NorthEast’s difference-makers
Luis Machado has played every game for NorthEast this season and is one of their go-to men. The Portuguese has scored thrice so far, including in the Highlanders’ last outing and needs to do more if NorthEast want to end their seven-match winless run at the expense of Jamshedpur. Machado and Federico Gallego are the Highlanders’ biggest game-changers. The Uruguayan playmaker has made one assist as well as scored once for NorthEast and is their most creative player. He will be hoping to rediscover the form he was in during Hero ISL 2018-19 as NorthEast eye a strong second half of the season.
Coyle’s men need more players to step up in final third
After Nerijus Valskis, who has scored eight out of Jamshedpur’s 12 goals this season, defender Stephen Eze comes in next on the goal-scoring list with three strikes so far. Aniket Jadhav has netted once and is the only other goal-scorer in a team crying out for more players to make their presence felt in attack. The fact that Jamshedpur only have three goal-scorers after 11 games tells its own story and needs to be turned around if they have top-four aspirations. The likes of Jackichand Singh, Mohammad Mobashir and Aitor Monroy need to do more in attack for a Jamshedpur side that also need to make the most of their offensive set-pieces.