Kalinga Super Cup: Jamshedpur FC win a vacillating contest to enter semi-finals

January 16, 2024
Daniel Chima Chukwu scored a brace to pave the way for a 10-man Jamshedpur FC’s thrilling 3-2 win over Kerala Blasters

Bhubaneswar, Jan 15 (IANS) Daniel Chima Chukwu scored a brace to pave the way for a 10-man Jamshedpur FC’s thrilling 3-2 win over Kerala Blasters in a Group B match of the Kalinga Super Cup at the Kalinga Stadium Main Pitch on Monday.

With this win, Jamshedpur FC became the first team in the ongoing competition to qualify for the semi-finals, as they have an unassailable lead in Group B.

In what turned out to be a see-saw battle, Jeremy Manzorro scored the winner for Jamshedpur from the spot. For Kerala Blasters, Diamantakos Dimitrios scored a brace from two penalty kicks earned by Kerala Blasters. Chukwu was shown a red card in the added minutes of the match.

In a keenly contested match, both sides delivered commendable and attacking performances from the outset. In such a closely fought game, the outcome was likely to hinge on the players’ ability to capitalise on scoring opportunities and both sides’ forwards certainly showed their composure under pressure.

There was also a captivating individual contest unfolding between Daniel Chima Chukwu of Jamshedpur and Diamantakos Dimitrios of Kerala Blasters. Both strikers have been in excellent form and have consistently found the back of the net throughout the season. And this duel did not disappoint, as both Chukwu and Dimitrios scored a brace each.

It was Dimitrios who gave Kerala Blasters the lead in the 28th minute. Jamshedpur’s Imran Khan brought down Daisuke Sakai inside the box and the referee, Venkatesh R, pointed to the spot immediately. Dimitrios stepped up and converted the penalty. Despite TP Rehenesh diving in the correct direction, the sheer force and accuracy of Dimitrios’ shot were enough to evade his outstretched hands and find the back of the net.

Jamshedpur, though, equalised five minutes later with a beautiful goal. Muhammed Uvais delivered an inch-perfect cross and Chukwu ran behind the defence to sweetly connect with the ball with his right foot and score his first goal of the match.

The second half started in an equally attacking fashion as Jamshedpur created an opportunity in the 48th minute when substitute Alen Stevanovic was released with a beautiful through ball. However, a heavy first touch from the Serbian forward let him down. Kerala Blasters, too, created a chance of their own a couple of minutes later. But Jamshedpur goalkeeper TP Rehenesh thwarted the danger after fumbling to collect the ball in his first attempt.

Stevanovic made amends when he contributed to Jamshedpur’s second goal in the 57th minute. He delivered a fast and well-targeted ball into the penalty box, aiming for Chukwu. The Nigerian forward adeptly controlled the ball, turned skillfully and unleashed a strong right-footed strike that found its way into the net. Kerala Blasters’ goalkeeper Sachin A Suresh did manage to get a hand on the ball, but the force of Chukwu’s shot was enough to overpower his attempt at a save.

Kerala Blasters were not to leave the field without a fight. Chukwu conceded a penalty when he fouled Mark Leskovic while attempting to clear a corner. It was Diamantakos once again who converted from the spot to level the scores in the 62nd minute.

Jamshedpur, though, came roaring back into the contest in the 69th minute. This time, Leskovic brought down Chukwu in his penalty box as Chukwu was trying to get a shot away. Jeremy Manzorro scored the penalty that turned out to be the winner.

In the dying minutes of the match, Jamshedpur were reduced to 10 men after Chukwu was shown a red card for a rough tackle on Leskovic.

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