The shot-stopper affected about 8-9 saves in the course of the 120 minutes in a remarkable performance.
Jamshedpur FC rode on young goalkeeper Sanjiban Ghosh’s heroics, to put it across I-League champions Minerva Punjab 5-4 in a penalty shootout and take their place in quarterfinals of the Super Cup. In the fourth Round of 16 match of the tournament, being played at the Kalinga stadium in Bhubaneswar, Odhisa.
Sanjiban affected at least 8-9 saves throughout the 120 minutes of the match and then put the icing on the cake with two more saves in the sudden death tie-breaker to emerge the undisputed hero of the match. Minerva, who were clearly the better team in the match, were left ruing their missed chances in the game, including an opportunity to close the game out in the tie-breaker.
The game began with I-League champions Minerva lining up a 4-3-3 formation, going in with a seemingly potent strike force of Ghanian William Asiedu, the young and talented Girik Khosla and ‘Bhutanese Ronaldo’ Chencho Geyltshen upfront. Jamshedpur went in with their strong four-man defense led by India star Anas and Brazilians Trindade Goncalves and Wellington Priori making up the attack engine in the central midfield, with Haitian Belfort and Farukh Choudharytasked to do all the running in and around the Minerva penalty box.
After a listless first 20 mins, the game opened up when Anas brought down Chencho in a dangerous area outside the Jamshedpur box. Asiedu’s free-kick rebounded off goalkeeper Ghosh and fell tantalizingly at the feet of an on-rushing Deepak Devrani. The defender, with only a fallen goalkeeper to beat, lobbed over.
Then in the 26th minute, off a Robin Gurung cross from the left flank, the ball found a faint deflection from a diving Farukh, fell invitingly at the feet of Belfort, who muffed his shot to allow Bikash to unleash a curling left footer, which beat Kiran Limbu all ends up but could not beat the Minerva upright.
Chencho and the young midfielder Akash Sangwan then got involved prominently in the game. Chencho first had a long ranger comfortably saved by Sanjiban and then from an Sangwan’s ball into the box, he could not manage to wrap his legs around the ball eventually, with only the goalkeeper ahead of him. Akash’s second beauty of the half, found Girik Khosla one-on-one with the keeper again, but the forward’s shot was saved ably by Sanjiban, who had a brilliant game.
The half ended with a booking for the experienced Anas, when he went into referee Santhosh’s book for a second cynical tackle in the game, this time on Khosla, just outside the Jamshedpur box. Although, possession was even, Minerva clearly ended the half, the stronger side. The second half mirrored the first in terms of Minerva having the better chances and looking the stronger side, although possession remained divided equally.
The best chance of the half, came in the 56th minute, with Chencho and Sangwan again at the heart of it. The Brazilian Memo, brought down Chencho on the edge of the box. Akash’s curling left-footed free-kick, brought about yet another save from Sanjiban. Asiedu found an open goal in front him on the rebound, but his header lobbed wide.
Just after Jamshedpur affected the first substitutions of the match, a double change, bringing in Sumeet Passi for Choudhary and Karan Amin for Yumnam Raju, Chencho had another shot on target in the 74th minute, Minerva’s fifth of the match, but it was the Jamshedpur custodian to the rescue again.
Minerva finished with two more chances going a begging, Chencho hitting the side netting and this time Bali Gagandeep (brought in in the 77th minute for Khosla) having his shot saved by Sanjiban. Minerva also made a second substitution in the half, replacing Randeep with Amandeep in the 79th minute.
Apart from both sides affecting their third substitutions, Minerva bringing on Moinuddin in place of Akashdeep and Jamshedpur replacing Trindade with Mehtab Hossain in the 98th and 99th minutes respectively, the 30 min extra time had not much to report. Except a couple of gilt-edged opportunities for Chencho at the fag end, but nothing was getting past Sanjiban on the day.
Both sides got their first two penalties on target in the shootout, with Memo missing the third for Jamshedpur. Then Moinuddin Khan hit the right upright to draw things level again. Cameroonian defender Andre Bikey put Jamshedpur ahead with his conversion of the fourth but Akashdeep drew Minerva level again.
Passi converted Jamshedpur’s fifth to put them ahead 4-3 and Kamalpreet Singh then cooly converted for the Punjab side to get into sudden death. Kiran Limbu then stopped Jairu’s power drive and the Minerva’s goalkeeper then opted to seal the issue himself, but Sanjiban extended his brilliant day with a crucial save.The experienced Hossain then converted cheekily and Sanjiban blocked Bali Gangandeep’s shot for Minerva and it rebounded off the post to send Jamshedpur FC into ecstasy and the Super Cup quarterfinals.