Super Cup: Jamshedpur ride goalie’s heroics to edge past Minerva in tiebreaker

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Bhubaneswar, April 3 (IANS) Jamshedpur FC rode on young goalkeeper Sanjiban Ghosh’s heroics to put it across I-League champions Minerva Punjab FC 5-4 in a penalty shoot-out and take their place in quarterfinals of the Super Cup here.

In the fourth Round of 16 match of the tournament, being played at the Kalinga stadium Sanjiban affected at least 8-9 saves throughout the 120 minutes of the match and then put the icing on the cake with two more saves in the sudden death tie-breaker to emerge the undisputed hero of the match on Monday.

Minerva, who were clearly the better team in the match, were left ruing their missed chances in the game, including an opportunity to close the game out in the tie-breaker.

The game began with Minerva lining up a 4-3-3 formation, going in with a seemingly potent strike force of Ghanian William Asiedu, the young and talented Girik Khosla and Chencho Geyltshen upfront.

Jamshedpur went in with their strong four-man defence led by India star Anas, and Brazilians Trindade Goncalves and Wellington Priori making up the attack engine in the central midfield, with Haitian Belfort and Farukh Choudhary tasked to do all the running in and around the Minerva penalty box.

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After a listless first 20 minutes, the game opened up when Anas brought down Chencho in a dangerous area outside the Jamshedpur box. Asiedu’s free kick rebounded off goalkeeper Sanjiban Ghosh, and fell tantalizingly at the feet of an on-rushing Deepak Devrani. The defender, with only a fallen goalkeeper to beat, lobbed over.

Then in the 26th minute, off a Robin Gurung cross from the left flank, the ball found a faint deflection from a diving Farukh, fell invitingly at the feet of Belfort, who muffed his shot to allow Bikash to unleash a curling left footer, which beat Kiran Limbu all ends up but could not beat the Minerva upright.

Chencho and the young midfielder Akash Sangwan then got involved prominently in the game. Chencho first had a long ranger comfortably saved by Sanjiban and then from an Akash Sangwan ball into the box, he could not manage to wrap his legs around the ball eventually, with only the goalkeeper ahead of him.

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Akash’s second beauty of the half, found Girik Khosla one on one with the keeper again, but the forward’s shot was saved ably by Sanjiban, who had a brilliant game.

The half ended with a booking for the experienced Anas, when he went into referee Santhosh’s book for a second cynical tackle in the game, this time on Girik Khosla, just outside the Jamshedpur box.

Although possession was even, Minerva clearly ended the half, the stronger side.

The second half mirrored the first in terms of Minerva having the better chances and looking the stronger side, although possession remained divided equally.

The best chance of the half, came in the 56th minute, with Chencho and Akash Sangwan again at the heart of it.

Just after Jamshedpur affected the first substitutions of the match, a double change, bringing in Sumeet Passi for Farukh Choudhary and Karan Amin for Yumnam Raju, Chencho had another shot on target in the 74th minute, Minerva’s fifth of the match, but it was the Jamshedpur custodian to the rescue again.

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Minerva finished with two more chances going a begging, Chencho hitting the side netting and this time Bali Gagandeep (brought in in the 77th minute for Girik Khosla) having his shot saved by Sanjiban.

Sumeet Passi converted Jamshedpur’s fifth to put them ahead 4-3 and Kamalpreet then cooly converted for the Punjab side to get into sudden death.

Kiran Limbu then stopped Bikash Jairu’s power drive and the Minerva’s goalkeeper then opted to seal the issue himself, but Sanjiban extended his brilliant day with a crucial save.

The experienced Mehtab Hussain then converted cheekily and Sanjiban blocked Bali Gangandeep’s shot for Minerva and it rebounded off the post to send Jamshedpur FC into ecstasy and the Super Cup quarterfinals.

–IANS

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