Bambolim, January 11: SC East Bengal went down fighting to Jamshedpur FC, courtesy of a solitary goal from JFC substitute Ishan Pandita, at the GMC Athletic Stadium in Bambolim in a Hero Indian Super League encounter. With the win, Jamshedpur FC climbed to the top of the table with 19 points from 11 matches, while SC East Bengal remained at the bottom with 6 points from the same number of matches.
In a rare feat, SC East Bengal fielded an all-Indian XI against a strong Jamshedpur FC side. The young team, egged on by young coach Renedy Singh, started the game with confidence, pushing for every ball and springing the occasional counter-attack to surprise the men of steel. Arindam Bhattacharya was rock solid in the goal, making a few good saves and clearing the lines when the space was minimal. The central defensive pair of Adil Khan and Ankit Mukherjee impressed the most with their no-nonsense defending.
Jamshedpur FC saw more of the ball but failed to show any offensive spark, as Hira Mondal and Sourav Das blocked all the balls coming from the flank. Jamshedpur FC intensified their attacking intent in the second half as SC East Bengal were dealt with a huge blow when Adil Khan, the mainstay of SCEB's defence after the Jose Manuel Diaz era, was forced off the field with an injury.
Arindam Bhattacharya made some terrific saves in the second half as well, though Jamshedpur FC’s number 10 Jordan Murray threatened to break the deadlock on numerous occasions. However, a corner in the 88th minute undid SC East Bengal's efforts. Greg Stewart floated the ball into the SCEB box, as substitute Ishan Pandita rose high and thumped a powerful header to ensure JFC ended the match with three points and the top spot.
Renedy Singh will have a tough job on hand when SC East Bengal play FC Goa next on January 19 at the GMC Athletic Stadium in Bambolim.