Jamshedpur FC finished their Hero Super Cup 2023 group stage campaign with a perfect record beating hosts Gokulam Kerala 3-2 in the final game at the EMS Corporation Stadium in Kozhikode on April 18.
They are the only team to have registered three straight wins in the competition’s group stage in this edition.
The first half of the game saw Jamshedpur and Gokulam Kerala evenly matched, both holding an equal amount of the ball and attempting shots on goal. It was a battle fought in the middle of the park as the two sides tussled to take control of the game.
It was the Malabarians who drew first blood in the 33rd minute when Sourav got the better of three Jamshedpur defenders and passed it onto Samuel Konney in a dangerous position. The Ghanaian forward made no mistake in slotting it home. The goal brought cheers from the home fans’ who had turned up in numbers to watch their side play their final game of the tournament.
However, their celebrations were short-lived as Jamshedpur found a reply within minutes. It all started with a defence-splitting pass from midfielder Germanpreet Singh who spotted Harry Sawyer on the run. The Australian attacker used his finesse to beat goalkeeper Shibinraj Kunniyil from close range to make it 1-1.
After switching sides, Jamshedpur turned up big and constantly put pressure on the Gokulam Kerala defenders. The former Hero Indian Super League Shield Winners fired on all cylinders in search of the winning goal. Ishan Pandita was a constant threat with his brilliant diagonal runs inside the box, keeping the Gokulam defence guessing.
The striker twice went close to breaking the deadlock all within the span of five minutes. In the 50th minute, Pandita’s header off a Komal Thatal cross was just wide of the target. In the 58th minute, Jamshedpur finally found the breakthrough they needed. Farukh Choudhary showed great control inside the box and lashed it home through the legs of the goalkeeper to make it 2-1.
This time, it was Gokulam Kerala’s turn to bounce back and score the equaliser. In the 62nd minute, Samuel capitalised on a loose ball inside the box, dribbled past a couple of Jamshedpur defenders and drove it from an awkward angle.
The game took a lively turn as both sides produced an end-to-end contest in search of the winning goal. Ultimately, Ishan Pandita found the goal he deserved after several attempts on target earlier in the game. The 24-year-old met Ritwik Das’ clever assist at the edge of the box and beat the goalkeeper from distance to make it 3-2.
Pandita came once again close to scoring in the 80th minute, when he went for a solo run from the right flank to the edge of the box. His powerful shot on target was saved in time by Shibinraj as the scoreline remained 3-2 and Jamshedpur held on to take the win.