Indian football spreads its wings, gets new footprint as Jamshedpur prepares for ISL bow
Written by: Sourav Neogi
The JRD Tata Sports Complex is set to host its first ever competitive football match.
Jamshedpur FC host reigning champions ATK in an intriguing Indian Super League (ISL) match on Friday evening. This will be a first competitive home fixture in the club's history for the Men of Steel, having only entered the league this year. That also holds true for the JRD Tata Sports Complex, which is set to become the newest venue in the Indian Football.
After two consecutive draws on the road against NorthEast United and Kerala Blasters Steve Coppell's men will be playing for all three points in this one. The team has a very strong midfield. The club has veteran midfielders Mehtab Hossain and Souvik Chakraborty in their ranks. The team also has a star player and former ATK winger Sameegh Doutie, who has been a consistent performer in the league in the last few seasons. The team have picked up two hard-fought points, with experienced campaigners like Hossain, Anas Edathodika and goalkeeper Subrata Paul emerging as real linchpins.
However, it is also the time that the team started scoring goals and for that, they will rely heavily on Kervens Belfort who has followed Coppel from Blasters and new recruit Izu Azuka. To his credit, the English tactician has made no secret of the challenges of managing a new team and will have taken a lot of heart from the opening points earned on the road.
ATK, on the other hand, have massively disappointed their fans’ fraternity across the country with two poor displays against Kerala Blasters and FC Pune City respectively. The defending champions now hold only one point and sit in 9th position in the standings, just above bottom diggers NorthEast United. A massive overhaul in their gameplay has resulted in the side into facing a similar problem to that of their next opponents Jamshedpur FC, who are also finding it hard to put the ball in the back of the net.
However, on a brighter note, ATK has shown glimpses of hunger, a reflection of which was portrayed in Bipin Singh Thounaojam’s free-kick goal against the Stallions last Sunday. Up against the newcomers on Friday, ATK head coach Teddy Sheringham needs to consider the game as a must win.
JRD Tata Sports Complex owned by Tata Group got renovated for the ISL. (Pic-Abhinav Ashish)
The hosts will miss experienced centre-back Anas Edathodika who is out with an injury. However, defender Andre Bikey who was sent off in their opening fixture against NEUFC is set to make a comeback against the Kolkata side, which will help Steve Coppell to keep his options open against ATK.
The Red and Whites of Kolkata will be missing their marquee player Robbie Keane against Jamshedpur FC as well. The former Northern Ireland and Tottenham Hotspur legend returned with an Achilles injury from the side’s pre-season friendlies in Dubai, which was reported to keep him out of the fold for another two weeks at the minimum.
Apart from Keane, ATK will also miss the services of Carl Baker and Jayesh Rane, while Ashutosh Mehta and Anwar Ali have only just returned to training and will miss this one. ATK will also have card worries for resourceful players such as Prabir Das and Eugeneson Lyngdoh, who had picked up yellow cards in the previous match and risk missing out on the next if booked in the showdown.
Head to Head
The two teams are yet to play in a competitive match as ISL 4 is the debut season for Jamshedpur FC. With both teams urgently needing a win, we can expect an exciting game to go down in Jharkhand.
Man to Watch
Mehtab Hossain was Hero of the match against Kerala Blasters
Mehtab Hossain-Jamshedpur FC: Midfielder Hossain played well and continuously and almost singlehandedly nullified the influence of counterpart Dimitar Berbatov. Everyone will have their attention peeled towards the former East Bengal midfielder, who has been a solid clog in JFC's midfield this season. With ATK struggling in the middle of the park, Hossain can turn the game in Jamshedpur's favour if he continues his dominance and can be a menace to his energy and ball-winning ability.
Bipin Singh's amazing free-kick goal for ATK against FC Pune City
Bipin Singh Thounaojam-ATK: ATK’s silver-lining against FC Pune City at the Salt Lake Stadium last Sunday, Bipin Singh scored a marvellous free-kick to score the only goal against the Maharashtra side. The 22-year-old attacker linked up with Prabir Das on the right wing pretty well and went on to deliver several successful crosses in the middle of the Pune box. Since the beginning of the ISL season, the forward has been in a thunderous form and could become the deciding factor in Friday’s game against the league newcomers.
Jamshedpur FC: Subrata (GK), Souvik, Gurung, Bikey, Tiri, Mehtab, Memo, Trindade, Maihmingthanga, Azuka, Belfort.
The match will be broadcast live from 7:45 pm on Star Sports 2 and Star Sports 2 HD. It will also be also available live on Hotstar and Jio TV.
Published: Fri Dec 01, 2017 02:44 AM IST