The Men of Steel are on an impressive run of form having won four of their last five games.
Jamshedpur FC will look to continue their push towards the top four of the Hero Indian Super League when they take on NorthEast United FC at the JRD Tata Sports Complex here on Saturday. Steve Coppell’s side have won their last two home games, against Kerala Blasters and Delhi Dynamos, but they return to their base after three away games where they collected six out of a possible nine points.
Jamshedpur’s organised brand of football has seen a surprising and unlikely rise into the playoff spots but they cannot take it easy because their challengers Mumbai City FC and FC Goa have both played fewer games. The only result that could keep Jamshedpur in the hunt is a win — and three points will also put the teams below them under pressure to win their remaining games.
“We hope that we continue the good form at home. But now, each and every game becomes vital. Three points are more significant now. Almost every game these last few weeks have been almost must-win for us. It would be great to win tomorrow, but if we don’t, it’s not the end of our ambitions this season,” Coppell said.
As for NorthEast United, which has failed to win in their last three games, their head coach Avram Grant conceded that results have not gone their way but the performances have surely seen an upsurge since he took over.
“When you are a footballer you always have to push yourself no matter the situation and that is what we will do tomorrow as well. In the last game (0-1 loss to FC Pune City), the team fought well and you can see the players playing well. There is frustration in what happened in the games before this but we have shown a good mentality to win games, irrespective of the results,” said the coach who had a few injury concerns to deal with.
Jamshedpur FC 0 – 0 NorthEast United FC (1 draw)
Jerry Mawihmingthanga (Jamshedpur FC)
The 20-year-old has been a revelation in the league this season. While Jamshedpur have gone on to become renowned for their solid defensive displays, Jerry has been influencing their attack and has helped provide as well as score himself. He is quick and an excellent dribbler, who possesses a bag of tricks to outwit opposition backlines. With a goal and three assists to his name, Jerry will look to guide his team to a crucial win against NorthEast.
Seiminlen Doungel (NorthEast United)
The Highlanders’ top scorer this season has been his team’s go-to man when it comes to creating openings in the opposition defence. He has used his pace to good effect on the flanks and has displayed great poaching skills combined with clinical finishing. The 24-year-old already has four goals as well as an assist to his name and will look to carve open the league’s best defence.
Steve Coppell may use a 4-2-3-1 formation that provides enough options in the middle and the flanks.
Goalkeeper: Subrata Paul
Defenders: Souvik Chakrabarti, Anas Edathodika, Tiri, Andre Bikey
Midfielders: Mehtab Hossain, Memo, Wellington Priori, Jerry Mawihmingthanga, Trindade Goncalves
Forward: Ashim Biswas
Jamshedpur’s head coach on their opponent of the night: “Jamshedpur is a very good team. They conceded the least goals in the league, I think. Their defence is very difficult to break down and they’re very good in their attacking as well. They’re playing good so it will be a tough game.”
Avram Grant will probably field a 4-2-3-1 formation as well in search of balance in attack and defence.
Goalkeeper: TP Rehenesh
Defenders: Nirmal Chettri, Jose Goncalves, Sambinha, Reagan Singh
Midfielders: John Mosquera, Rowllin Borges, Seiminlen Doungel, Marcinho, Halicharan Narzary
Forward: Danilo Lopes
Highlander’s head coach on his team’s mindset ahead of the fixture: “Looking at the end of the season, we still have two home games, one away game and one half a home game. And I think, for a lot of the teams, now each and every game is vital. Tomorrow, it would be great to win. If we don’t win, it’s not the end of our ambitions for this season for sure, but it would certainly be nice to win.”
- NorthEast have scored the joint-least number of goals this season (10) while Jamshedpur have conceded the least (12)
Jamshedpur FC 0 – 0 NorthEast United FC (18th November 2017 at the Indira Gandhi Athletic Stadium in Guwahati)
Jamshedpur FC: W W L W W
NorthEast United FC: L D L W L