Azuka, Thiago bag a brace each in high-voltage encounter

Jamshedpur FC and Mumbai City FC played out an entertaining 2 – 2 draw at the JRD Tata Sports Complex in Hero Indian Super League (ISL) 2017-18 on Friday. A brace each from Jamshedpur’s Izu Azuka and Mumbai’s Thiago Santos ensured the Islanders climbed into the top four while the league debutants remained sixth.

The home team started with a lot of intent, and Jerry Mawhmingthanga fashioned a volley early on in the eighth minute, which just flashed over the crossbar. A minute later, the Islanders initiated an attack of their own which led to Thiago laying the ball off from the left to Achille Emana. The Cameroonian’s low drive though was inches wide of the target.

Mumbai broke the deadlock in the 24th minute from a throw-in when Everton Santos passed the ball to Thiago. The latter showed quick feet to skip past a couple of defenders and unleash a lovely curled effort into the top right-hand corner, as a helpless Subrata Paul could only stay rooted to his spot.

That setback spurred on Jamshedpur as they began attacking with fervour. It was only poor touches in the final third that was letting them down. But they kept knocking on the door, and were rewarded for their efforts two minutes from the break. Jerry whipped in a cross from the right flank which was blocked by the Mumbai defence but fell kindly for Azuka who slotted in the equaliser.

The Mumbai backline did not learn from their lapse and the same combination worked for Jamshedpur’s second right on the cusp of half-time. Jerry put in another cross from the right, and this time Azuka fired home with a first-time shot to give his team the lead. That was the final piece of action of the half, as the late flurry meant Jamshedpur went into the break with a 2 – 1 advantage.

The second period started like the first half ended as the home team went forward with wave after wave of attacks. The Islanders tried their best to soak up the pressure and did so with good effect as they equalized in the 71st minutes after hitting Jamshedpur on the counter. Everton went on a run down the right and came up with a cross that was put into the back of the net by Thiago courtesy of a first-time volley.

Nine minutes from time and Mumbai nearly scored a third. Emana put his laces through a loose ball just outside the box, but Paul was on hand to make a reflex save. With three minutes remaining, the hosts had a glorious opportunity to grab a winner. Azuka’s shot from close range looked to be heading into the net, but it was blocked by substitute defender Ashim Biswas. The ball again fell kindly for the Nigerian to have another go, but Biswas blocked him a second time as the teams shared the spoils.

MATCH AWARDS

Club Award: Jamshedpur FC and Mumbai City FC

Swift Moment of the Match: Thiago Silva

DHL Winning Pass of the Match: Everton Santos

Amul Fittest Player: Kervens Belfort

Emerging Player: Jerry Mawhmigthanga

Hero of the Match: Izu Azuka

Watch the match highlights here:

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