Nerijus Valskis showed a thumbs up after scoring his first goal – presumably because he realised Bagan haven’t planned for set-pieces in the game…
All Jamshedpur FC needed to do to beat ATK Mohun Bagan in their 2020-21 Indian Super League (ISL) clash on Monday was get their set-pieces right. Owen Coyle got his tactics spot on against Antonio Habas’ men who were chasing their fourth straight win going into the fixture.
In attack, the first thing that Coyle did was to field William Lalnunfela alongside star striker Nerijus Valskis and that move worked well whenever the team pushed forward in search of goals.
The game was an end-to-end contest at times but both TP Rehenesh and Arindam Bhattacharya dealt with threats effectively – some of the saves were ones they are expected to make but there were a few outstanding stops in the mix as well.
The biggest difference between the teams was how they used set-piece situations. Jamshedpur looked like an Owen Coyle team on the night – they had the characteristics that Indian fans were used to seeing from Chennaiyin last season.
Importantly, Alex Lima was key in ensuring Jamshedpur FC denied ATK Mohun Bagan’s midfielders any space to operate.
Habas seems to have insisted on zonal marking rather than going man-to-man and it backfired. For the first goal, Nerijus Valskis was faced with no opposition inside the box as he jumped and headed the ball past Arindam to break open the deadlock. Was it a gift? No, it was a good delivery and a very good header. But could Bagan have done better? Most certainly, yes.
The Bagan defence and midfield had an off day in their own half. Players who had been doing well up until Sunday, like Carl McHugh, couldn’t keep up.
Whatever Habas told his team at half-time did have an effect as the Kolkata-based club dominated proceedings for most of the second half. Coyle’s team, albeit a bit too defensive, was clever during transitions. The teams cancelled each other out until once again Jamshedpur struck from a set-piece.
It was Aitor Monroy’s delivery (again). Valskis was the scorer (again). It is only natural to wonder how someone like Valskis had all the time in the world to slam home the delivery from the corner, not only because he one of the most prolific strikers in ISL but also since he already got on the scoresheet from a corner in the first half. Bagan did not adapt or react to the opposition’s strengths and they were once again punished.
Bagan did create chances as they chased the game towards the end, with Manvir Singh’s pace causing problems to the Jamshedpur backline. However, Peter Hartley and co. dealt with them.
Roy Krishna got his customary goal in the 80th minute although he was clearly offside and the goal should not have been allowed. It was only a consolation for a team that didn’t play well and will hope it is only an off day.