That's the question most of us had last night before the game. The unstoppable force, the green and maroon brigade coming head to head against the rigid and at times immovable Jamshedpur FC. Jamshedpur with the one of the most disciplined and well oiled defenses, up against the flair and class of Mohun Bagan. Truly it was fire against ice, the lion looking to hunt down it's prey, which is equally good at putting up a fight.

Courtesy : Indian Super League

The Tata Football Academy is a historical figure in the journey of Indian football. Many a footballer who have donned the blue jersey for this nation have come through the ranks of the Tata Football Academy. The first planned city in India, the Jamshedpur city itself was represented on the pitch by the home team. Planned, efficient, well oiled and never to be underestimated. Up against a Bagan side who had won all the first three ISL games. A tasty encounter was bound to take place. And yes, it didn't disappoint.

The starting line up had a big surprise for the Mariners. With Anwar out for the long term, it was expected that Hamill will get more game time. But, the question was who will be dropped to accommodate the Aussie defender? Yesterday, neither Boumous nor Cummings were even included in the match day squad itself. What it meant was, beyond the usual charisma and strength of the starting lineup, the bench was mostly made of the youngsters, most of whom were playing in the recently concluded CFL. There were no other changes as Hector Yuste, Subhasish and Hamill started in the back three with Vishal Kaith in goal. The midfield consisted of Sahal, Thapa and Glan Martins, with Liston and Manvir starting as the wing backs. Sadiku got his first start in the ISL along side Dimi Petratos.

The match began with a high tempo from both sides. It would have surprised many to see Jamshedpur taking the fight to the Mohun Bagan team who have been splendid till now. Jamshedpur pressed and pressed hard, they pressed high, and then the inevitable happened in the sixth minute. A moment of madness, a moment to forget. A through ball played for Chima Chukwu was slightly over hit and on rushed Vishal Kaith leaving his goal un guarded. But Subhasish reached the ball first and tried to clear, only to find Sanan, the youth product from RFYC. Sanan made no mistake and coolly slotted it home into an empty net. The stadium erupted. The Jamshedpur players celebrated. They were up one nil against the most formidable team in India. Was defeat on the cards?

They say, warriors never give up. They try and try, and then a hero rises out of the ashes. And our Albanian hero finally came calling last night. After struggling for form and confidence for much of the opening part of the season, it was Sadiku's time to shine. It all happened in the 28th minute. Sahal played a ball only Sahal can play for Manvir. A ball through the heart of the Jamshedpur defense. Manvir put his head up, and saw a free on rushing Sadiku in the box and made no mistake in putting the ball on a plate for an easy tap in for the Albanian. One all. Game on! Sadiku was a relieved man to say the least, his celebration indicating his thankfulness to the fans for staying by his side during his difficult start. He had arrived finally, and he wasn't just done yet.

Bagan grew and grew into the game. The lion had smelled blood, it wanted more. It wanted to win, to win. With every pass, the Bagan players settled down more and more. Many chances were created, the most obvious ones coming at the end of the first half. Sadiku had an open goal in front of him with just the keeper to beat, yet somehow, he fluffed the finish. A more composed head is expected on his much experienced shoulders in such situations. The second one was at the 50th minute, A free kick just at the edge of the box. Dimi had a shot but it was easily punched away by TP Rehnesh. Yet another free kick not utilized this season by Bagan. This trend has to stop.

The second half began as the first half ended. And it bore fruit.

Liston has been trying all season to control his urge to take unnecessary long shots. But today he took one. And it reminded all of us why this guy was heralded as the next best thing in Indian football just a few seasons back. He stopped his shot once, he looked and stopped for the second time. But not one Jamshedpur player came to close him down. The result? A beautiful shot with a devilish dip, right into the bottom corner. 2-1 Bagan. The comeback was complete. Without our main foreign stars. This team never gives up.

Jamshedpur kept knocking on the door and would have scored via an Elsinho header if not for Vishal Kaith to turn into super man and tip it over. But drama was about to ensue on the opposite end. 

Bagan played a through ball to find Sahal who was through on goal. Out came Rehnesh who two footed Sahal and completely missed the ball. The ball fell kindly to Sadiku who turned it into the net. But the referee's whistle had already gone, an advantage should have and could have been played, in almost any league, any stadium by almost any other referee. But, its the ISL, here new rules of football are made everyday. The ref blew his whistle without playing the advantage. Bagan were robbed of their goal. It was not all merry for Jamshedpur as Rehnesh was red carded, and they had to turn over the deficit with just 10 men.

All the hopes of a late revival for JFC were crushed by Kiyan Nassiri. The Derby hattrick boy took a shot which went high after deflection from the on rushing keeper, but eventually found the net. 3-1 Bagan. The match had to be sealed. But, things were not gonna be so easy.

Jamshedpur never gave up, and scored their second goal through new recruit Steve Ambri. Yuste took him down in the box, resulting in the penalty which Ambri slotted home coolly. The last five minutes with the additional time was nerve wrecking. Ambri came close again, this time hitting the woodwork in extra time, but the scorers were not troubled anymore. Bagan had won, their winning streak continues. The first ISL team to win the first four games of their new campaign. So many records broken already, so many new ones to break.


Vishal Kaith had a mixed game tonight, while he will be faulted for the first goal, he did make some good saves to keep Bagan in the game against the relentless Red Miners. A solid 6/10 for our number one.

Hamill, Hector and Subhasish didn't have the game of their lives at the Furnace on Wednesday. Sure they warded off most of the threat the JFC attackers possessed, but a penalty was given away at the end stages of the game. They initially looked shaky, with Subhasis being caught out at not maintaining the offside line on a number of occasions thus letting the JFC players to play through balls over the top of the defense. 6/10 for all of them.

Now, let's talk of the midfield. Glan Martins and Anirudh Thapa tried their best to ward off the waves of pressure that JFC threw at them. JFC with Manzorro and Stevanovic in the midfield looked sharp, and our two Indian midfielders had the duty to control them. They succeeded in parts though, as Jamshedpur kept the tempo high all game. 6/10 for both.

On the contrary, Sahal, Manvir and Liston had a much better game. Manvir and Sahal combined to create the first goal, while Liston scored the second. Sahal was responsible for the red card to Rehnesh as well. The trio had a good game, and will look to carry on this momentum going into a busy schedule of matches up ahead. A solid 8/10 for them.

Now the attacking line. Dimi and Sadiku paired upfront for the first time this season, and it took some time for them to be finally working in sync. ure, the chemistry of Dimi, Cummings and Hugo was not there, but it can't be an excuse. Sadiku scored the goal, but also missed a sitter. Dimi came close on a few occasions, but he has had better games in his career. 6/10 for Dimi and 7/10 for Sadiku.

Three substitutes came on at various junctures in the game. Kiyan got some game time and it was nice to see him score the winning goal. Suhail Ahmed and Ashis Rai also came on from the bench to see off the game. It's quite refreshing to see the manager slowly incorporating the youngsters into the team. A look on the way ahead for sure! Our ratings for Kiyan- 7/10, Suhail and Ashis- 6/10.

And, what to say of our gaffer? Not the typical merry day for Juan ball, but as they say, the three points matter the most. The mastermind of the team made sure the players trusted the gameplan and never give up. Even with 2 key players out, we could come back and win away from home. That's pretty impressive to say the very least. A 8/10 for King Juan.

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