For the second time in three games, the Men of Steel were held to a stalemate.
Jamshedpur FC and Hyderabad FC shared the spoils after an entertaining 1-1 draw at the GMC Bambolim Stadium on Thursday. Greg Stewart, who was the best player on the night, gave Owen Coyle’s men the lead in the 41st minute. It came from a throw-in with Stewart receiving the ball, taking a lovely half-turn, escaping a challenge and smashing into the top corner with his weaker foot. Minutes earlier, he rammed the woodwork after another dazzling run from the halfway mark.
Hyderabad though, levelled the scores in the second half through Bartholomew Ogbeche’s magical moment. The 37-year-old received the ball, feigned a shot and played a quick one-two with Joao Victor to open up the Jamshedpur FC defence. He then left goalkeeper TP Rehenesh stranded with a low shot into the bottom right corner. Both teams aimed for the winner, but eventually settled for a draw.
The draw leaves Jamshedpur FC in fifth place with five points from three games. Hyderabad FC, from the same number of matches, are a point and position lower. Here’s how Jamshedpur FC boss Owen Coyle reacted to his side’s performance.
Two points dropped
Having dominated the game for the opening 45 minutes, Coyle accepted the result was disappointing and his side should have collected all three points.
“I think we felt at half-time we could have been a couple of goals to the good. We were dominating. Hyderabad had one good chance, it was a free header from a set-piece. So, we have to be fair in our assessment of the game. But, I certainly felt that over a period, we should probably get those three points,” said the Jamshedpur FC boss. “That said, when you have Bart (Ogbeche) on the pitch, there’s always a chance you produce a bit of magic as he did. I don’t think Rehenesh could have done anything.
“But, we created some wonderful opportunities in the second half to get that goal and go and win the game. However, its another game unbeaten (for us), three games. Probably should have had more points on the table already, but we are showing really pleasing signs. We are showing how good a side we are. I think we will continue to get better as we move forward,” reflected Coyle.
Best of Greg Stewart yet to come
Greg Stewart produced his best performance for Jamshedpur FC and was the best player on the pitch by a distance. He did fizzle out a little in the second half, but the Scotsman showed the fans a glimpse of his qualities. Coyle though feels his best is yet to come.
“There’s still more to come from him. I still don’t think he’s 100% fit, as the niggle (thigh problem) was tight. But, every day, he’s working so hard and we’ve seen some wonderful quality from him tonight,” observed the fellow Scotsman. “He beat 5-6 men in the first half with the move that hit the post. It should have probably gone in. Then he scores an unbelievable goal.
“He’s capable of that. He’s got a good pass in him and also good delivery from set-plays. He’s a great player and also a good teammate. He helps his other mates and he’ll be very good for us moving forward.”
Decision to rest Peter Hartley
After captaining his side in each of the first two matches, Owen Coyle left Peter Hartley on the bench. Eli Sabia replaced him at the back and also wore the armband for Jamshedpur FC. Hartley later came on in the second half, replacing centre-back Narender Gahlot. Coyle was asked if this will be the template going forward for the Men of Steel, with an Indian-foreign centre-back pairing.
Owen Coyle revealed that Hartley had been keeping unwell and was rested from the starting XI to keep him fit.
“The skipper had been unwell for a couple of days. Eli Sabia played the last 10 minutes against FC Goa. Both are wonderful players and there’s every chance that two of them can play and ultimately another foreign player misses out. It’s all about getting the balance. Jordan Murray missing tonight through injury,” said Coyle.
“So, there’s competition for places. The skipper is fully fit, Eli Sabia is fully fit. It’s important to keep rotating and equally, we want to win games. That’s a headache for the head coach and I’d rather have that, as the players are playing well. When they are not playing well, you can pick any of them. So, ultimately, that’s what we have to do. We have to pick teams to win games, which we did tonight and on any other day, we would have won that game,” he added.
On first half performance
Jamshedpur completely dominated the first half and went into the break with a 1-0 lead, although they should have been ahead by more. The Men of Steel had six attempts on target in the opening 45, while Hyderabad managed none. HFC coach Manolo Marquez termed the performance as the worst 45 minutes by his side during his tenure at the club.
Coyle took that as a compliment for his side and something they will continue to do in every game moving forward.
“Sometimes you don’t play as the opposition don’t allow you to play well. We dominated them, didn’t give them a minute on the ball and that was part of how we went into this match. We play with such intensity. So, that’s certainly a compliment for ourselves and a testament to how hard we worked and forced Hyderabad into making mistakes at different times,” claimed Coyle.
“So, that’s something we need to continue to do moving forward and do it collectively. They got a little better in the second half, but not much. However, they were more dangerous, we have to avoid that. It’s not always possible to control a game for the whole duration, but when we are ahead we need to add more goals at our end, as we should have done at different times.”