Jamshedpur FC reclaimed the sixth spot in the Indian Super League (ISL) 2023-24 points table with a stunning victory powered by two goals late in the second half as they edged past East Bengal FC by 2-1 at the JRD Tata Sports Complex in Jamshedpur on Thursday.

Japanese star Rei Tachikawa bagged an equaliser in the 80th minute, which was followed by a winner by French playmaker Jeremy Manzorro in the added time of the second half to snatch three points from the hands of the Red & Gold Brigade.

East Bengal FC had notched their first win in six matches when they went past Hyderabad FC by 1-0 away from home last Saturday. Whilst head coach Carles Cuadrat would have wanted that win to infuse confidence within the setup, they started this game on the backfoot with Manzorro and Imran Khan teasing Prabsukhan Singh Gill with formidable efforts from in and around the 18-yard-box in the opening 15 minutes.

Manzorro carved open the East Bengal FC defence with a pass for Mohammed Sanan on the left flank, and he was well-placed to collect the pass back from the Reliance Foundation Young Champs (RFYC) graduate. However, his shot landed off target. Imran pounced upon that momentum, expressing a sudden burst of pace on the right side of the box to unleash a fierce shot that was kept at bay, but the nervousness was still palpable in the East Bengal FC ranks.

That is why Nandhakumar Sekar and his fifth goal of the season deserves further applause, as his partnership with Brazilian striker Cleiton Silva reflected in the way the two of them interlinked in a rare moment that the Jamshedpur FC backline had gone off-guard. Cleiton cut into the middle from the left, but his shot took a deflection off Wungngayam Muirang and landed in Nandha’s path, who shot it between the legs of TP Rehenesh to bag the opener heading into the half-time break.

Whilst the Jamshedpur FC kept attack-pounding pressure even after the resumption of play, the visitors arguably took solace in seeking opportunities off the break. In one such counter by the home side, substitute Nikhil Barla shot in a cross from the right that was there for the taking for any Jamshedpur FC forward who threw his hand up. Admirably, Tachikawa, renowned for his set-piece abilities otherwise, leapt and dived to somehow get his head to the end of the ball and send it past Gill to get his team on level terms with the opposition. As the game dug deep, Jamshedpur FC kept creating chances and earning fouls from dangerous positions.

One such free-kick from a promising position at the centre just outside the box drew Manzorro’s attention, in the seventh minute of the added time of the second half. The Frenchman stepped up for the duties and showed tremendous class, composure, and razor-sharp accuracy to curl the ball past a fully stretched Gill and complete an emphatic comeback for Jamshedpur FC.

Key Performer of the Match

Jeremy Manzorro (Jamshedpur FC)

Manzorro was central to Jamshedpur FC’s success in this game, as he quite often has been since the league resumed in late January. He attempted 48 passes tonight and completed 41 of them, in addition to creating two goal-scoring opportunities and making five crosses. However, it was his winner that demonstrated his footballing guile as well as his temperament to step up on the big occasion and make that his own.

What’s next for both teams?

Jamshedpur FC will play their next game against the Mohun Bagan Super Giant on March 1, whereas East Bengal FC will come back in action later this week against Chennaiyin FC on February 26.

Brief Scores

Jamshedpur FC 2 (Rei Tachikawa 80’, Jeremy Manzorro 90+7’) – 1 East Bengal FC (Nandhakumar Sekar 45’)

For more information, visit the match centre: https://www.indiansuperleague.com/matchcentre/62562