Jamshedpur FC booked a Hero Super Cup quarter-final berth after winning 5-4 on penalties against Hero I-League 2017-18 champions Minerva Punjab FC at the Kalinga Stadium in Bhubaneswar on Monday. As 120 minutes of intense play ended goalless, both the teams geared up for the penalty shootout, where Jamshedpur managed to keep their composure.
The match began on even grounds with a majority of the play happening in the midfield. The first major chance of the game was initiated by William Asiedu whose low free-kick went through the wall but was kept out brilliantly by the alert Jamshedpur custodian Sanjiban Ghosh. Jamshedpur replied with a wonderful chance minutes later when Trindade Goncalves set up Kervens Belfort inside the box, but Minerva’s keeper Kiran Limbu rushed in on time to block his attempt.
Thereafter, Jamshedpur came extremely close to taking the lead through Bikash Jairu’s curling effort from the edge of the box, but the ball, unfortunately, hit the crossbar. Minutes later, Wellington Priori’s low shot from distance found the side-netting. Minerva answered back through Girik Mahesh, but Sanjiban pulled off a brilliant save with his outstretched legs to ensure the teams entered the breather goalless.
Minerva started the second period with intent. Akash Sangwan curled his free-kick past the wall, but Sanjiban’s diving save thwarted the attempt. The very next minute, Jairu entered the box from the left and directed a low shot towards the far post, but missed it by mere inches. Minutes later, Chencho found himself inside the box with the ball at his feet. He cut back and sent a shot on target but another fantastic Sanjiban save kept him at bay.
The Bhutanese had another chance in the ending minutes when Bali Gagandeep set him inside the box. But though, he managed to see away his marker, his final shot hit the side-netting. As the game neared the 90-minute mark, both the teams adopted a defensive approach to prevent a late winner and the game rolled into extra-time.
Minerva started the first 15 minutes in the front, with William setting up Chencho who in turn, failed to keep his balance. Both the teams thereafter had multiple attempts on target, but the keepers from each end ensured that the net was not rippled in the first 15 minutes. The next 15 minutes, however, was a complete Sanjiban show. He pulled two brilliant saves off Chencho within a couple of minutes to keep Jamshedpur in the game and take the match to the all-important penalties.
Belfort and William took the first penalties for their respective teams, before Priori, Eric Dano, Andre Bikey, Akashdeep Singh, Sumeet Passi and Kamalpreet Singh converted their ones. However, misses from Memo and Jairu for Jamshedpur and from Moinuddin and Limbu for Minerva intensified proceedings. With Mehtab Hossain converting, it was Bali Gagandeep’s chance to keep Minerva in the hunt. But Sanjiban ended an impressive night by saving his spot-kick to take Jamshedpur to the quarter-finals of the Hero Super Cup.