Jamshedpur (The Hawk): Sunday's Indian Super League match between Jamshedpur FC and NorthEast United ended in a 1-0 victory for Jamshedpur FC, giving them their first victory of the year.
With their fourth straight defeat, NorthEast United had their worst-ever ISL season start thanks to a goal from captain Peter Hartley.
Hartley's return to the starting lineup and Eli Sabia's benching helped the home team's defence. Germanpreet Singh, a midfielder, was forced to leave this game due to injury, and Farukh Choudhary took his place.
Marco Balbul made five changes to the team that fell short against East Bengal last week, switching to a five-man backline.
Starting on defence were Joe Zoherliana, Mashoor Shereef, and Aaron Evans. Arindam Bhattacharya was replaced in goal by Mirshad Michu, and Romain Philippoteaux, who was injured, was replaced in midfield by Imran Khan.
The Highlanders did a good job of holding off Jamshedpur till the halfway point. The Red Miners made the breakthrough through Hartley a minute later.
The tallest player, Harry Sawyer, headed Wellington Priori's corner goalward. His shot fell at Hartley's feet, and the captain of Jamshedpur FC calmly side-footed the ball into the goal.
Boris selected Sawyer in the 52nd minute. The striker changed his stance, but his attempt was stopped. Soon after, Chukwu outmuscled his defender and fired, but that attempt was also blocked.
On the opposite end, TP Rehenesh brilliantly blocked Imran's attempt from the left side. The goalkeeper made a fingertip save to stop the midfielder from scoring.
Every time NorthEast United had the ball in the final third, they were unable to take advantage.
With a game still to play, the victory moves the Red Miners up to sixth position, six points behind the leaders. On November 3, they will depart for Goa to play their next game. The Highlanders, who are still at the bottom of the standings, will welcome Kerala Blasters at their home on November 5.
(Inputs from Agencies)