Chennai extend lead at the top after edging Jamshedpur

Chennaiyin FC strengthened their grip at the summit of Hero Indian Super League (ISL) 2017-18 after beating Jamshedpur FC 1-0 at the JRD Tata Sports Complex in Jamshedpur on Thursday. Jeje Lalpekhlua scored the only goal of the game from the spot, while Jamshedpur’s Kervens Belfort failed to convert a penalty himself.

The hosts began positively with Mehtab Hossain forcing Chennaiyin goalkeeper Karanjit Singh into a save as early as the second minute. Jerry Mawhmingthanga then saw his effort from a Souvik Chakrabarti cross go inches wide of the far post four minutes later.

Jamshedpur kept pushing but the visitors defended resolutely as Coppell’s men struggled to find an opening despite playing some good attacking football. The home side went on to earn a free-kick on the half-hour mark, which Bikash Jairu whipped on target for an easy save by the goalkeeper.

The visitors absorbed most of what Jamshedpur had to throw and took the lead 11 minutes later after Mehtab Hossain was adjudged to have handled the ball inside his own box. Jeje stepped up confidently and dispatched the spot-kick to make it 1-0 for the southerners.

Things took another dramatic turn on the stroke of half-time after Chennai’s skipper Sereno was deemed to have fouled Jairu inside the box. Belfort took responsibility but failed to beat Karanjit, who saved brilliantly to ensure Chennai took a 1-0 advantage into the break.

After a slow start to the second period, Chennai had a chance to double their lead in the 55th minute when Rene Mihelic delivered a quality free-kick. Mailson Alves met it with his head but couldn’t keep it down as it went out for a goal-kick.

Jamshedpur tried to fight their way back into the contest and had a free-kick in a threatening area 11 minutes from full-time. Sameehg Doutie decided to take on the mantle but produced a poor effort that was never going to trouble Karanjit in goal.

Chennai could have put the game to bed in the 88th minute after Inigo Calderon found Jeje, who shifted the ball onto his left foot and drilled it low as his effort rolled fractions wide of the target. He had another chance in added time after he found himself through on goal with just the goalkeeper to beat. The Mizo Sniper, however, blasted it way over the crossbar even though it proved to be inconsequential in the end as his first-half penalty earned Chennaiyin all three points.     

MATCH AWARDS

Club Award: Chennaiyin FC

Swift Moment of the Match: Karanjit Singh

DHL Winning Pass of the Match: Rene Mihelic

Amul Fittest Player of the Match: Memo

Emerging Player of the Match: Jerry Mawhmingthanga

Hero of the Match: Jeje Lalpekhlua

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