Steve Coppell’s Jamshedpur FC brought their goal-scoring duck to an end as they inflicted a third consecutive loss to Delhi Dynamos FC at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium, New Delhi courtesy of an Izu Azuka goal in the 61st minute.
Opening match hero Lallianzuala Chhangte returned to the starting XI for Delhi after starting on the bench against NorthEast United FC in the only change by Miguel Angel Portugal.
Steve Coppell meanwhile rang in the changes replacing his entire front-four from the last match as looked to break Jamshedpur’s goal-scoring duck.
Nigerian striker Izu Azuka replaced Kervens Belfort up top. Wingers Siddharth Singh and Bikash Jairu also came into the starting XI while Brazilian playmaker Matheus Goncalves was preferred instead of Sameehg Doutie.
It was the home side who started the match on the front-foot as Chhangte caused all sorts of trouble for Souvik Chakrabarti on the left-flank. Visitors’ skipper Jose Espinosa Tiri was shown a booking as soon as the fifth minute after he brought down the young Mizoram winger at the edge of the box.
Brazilian midfielder Paulinho Dias’ resultant free-kick had good whip but he sent it straight down the throat of Subrata Paul who gathered cleanly.
The home side thought they had gone ahead when skipper Kalu Uche rose the highest to head in another Paulinho free-kick but the Nigerian’s joy was short-lived as the linesman flagged for off-side.
Jamshedpur’s revamped attack meanwhile failed to really click in the opening period as they were dealt with comfortably for the most part by Delhi’s defence.
Brazilian midfielder Memo had a surging run down the right-flank for the visitors and the ball ultimately fell to Goncalves whose shot was quickly closed down by Cichero. Azuka had another half-chance after being fed by Jairu but he dragged his effort just wide of the target.
The home side dominated the possession in the opening period with more than 70 percent of the ball but chances were at a premium as Jamshedpur showed why they are yet to concede so far in the league. It was mostly a scrappy affair in midfield as both sides went into the interval goal-less.
The second period though was a completely different affair as the visitors came charging out of the block with wave after wave of dangerous attacks.
Their perseverance was rewarded with a spot-kick when Pratik Chowdhary brought down Izu in the box but Andre Bikey’s resultant penalty was poor and easily saved by Albino Gomes.
Coppell’s men ultimately got their first goal of the league when Izu rose headed in a floated Mehtab Hussain free-kick from the half-way line in the 61st minute. The visitors looked like a side transformed as Goncalves grew into his role.
Portugal put in David Ngaihte and Nand Kumar in place of Guyon and Chhangte as he searched desperately for the equalizer but the home side failed to create many clear cut chances.
Delhi’s attack in fact floundered after the changes as the replacements failed to create any sort of impact ahead of a resolute Jamshedpur defence who held on to their one-goal lead to the final whistle.