Jamshedpur: It was redemption for Ashim Biswas as Jamshedpur FC toppled Kerala Blasters 2-1, with the 35 year-old having a touch in both at the JRD Tata Complex Stadium here on Wednesday.
The win was also Jamshedpur FC’s first victory at home this season after a couple of defeats and draws and it took them to seventh, just one behind Kerala Blasters one notch above them with 14 points having played a game more.
Once a hot name in Indian football, someone who had played for both the Kolkata giants Mohun Bagan and East Bengal and also represented India at the age of 20, Ashim plied his trade in the second division clubs before signing for the debutants Jamshedpur FC.
He (Ashim) was given his first start against the ‘Men in Yellow’, one that he will perhaps remember for a long time. Partnering Izu Azuka upfront in a 4-4-2 formation, all he needed was 22 seconds to prove his mettle earning an assist even as Jerry Mawihmingthanga became the fastest ever goal-scorer in the Indian Super League (ISL).
Although Jerry scored the goal after rounding off Paul Rachubka, it was Ashim’s shot that deflected off a defender to fall into his path giving the home team an important lead early into the match.
Half-an-hour later it was him again, this time pounding into a Bikash Jairu cross to head home past a stranded Rachubka, for his first goal in the ISL that ensured the home side, a vital win late into the campaign.
Kerala slowly made their way into the game, but it was all Jamshedpur in the opening 15 minutes tearing apart the visitors’ defence with ease and could have gone ahead thrice with dangerous crosses, but Steve Coppell’s decision to park the bus early into the second-half by bringing on Mehtab Hossain for the striker Ashim, made things a tad more tougher for the visitors to breakthrough.
Although Dutch youngster Mark Sifneos pulled one back late into the third minute of extra-time, was far from escaping defeat meaning it was David James’ first loss as manger of the club ever since taking charge.
But the margin of defeat could have more had Izu Azuka been more prolific in-front of goal. The Nigerian had a glorious chance to increase the two goal lead in the second-half but his header was off target, while moments later Jhingan cleared the ball after Azuka seems to take hours to shoot in what the home side’s best opportunity.
But nonetheless Jamshedpur held on tot heir slender lead to move to seventh with 13 points from 10 outings, just three behind the four placed Mumbai City.