Sergio Castel’s fine form in front of goal was not enough for Jamshedpur FC as NorthEast United FC fought back late for a pulsating 1-1 draw at the JRD Tata Sports Complex here on Monday.
The host was the dominant side in this Indian Super League (ISL) encounter and Spanish striker Castel’s fifth goal of the season in the 28th minute seemed to have given all three points for Antonio Iriondo’s men. But a 90th-minute equaliser from Panagiotis Triadis ensured NorthEast’s unbeaten record remained intact.
The result sees Jamshedpur move to second on the table, level on points (11) with ATK at the top. NorthEast is now fourth with 10 points to its name. JFC started on the front foot and looked dangerous going forward. Six minutes into the game, Noe Acosta dribbled to the byline on the left flank.
He then chipped the ball to the centre of the box for Farukh Choudhary whose acrobatic overhead kick flew just over the bar. The NorthEast defence struggled to contain a clever Jamshedpur forward line, led by Castel. The Atletico Madrid loanee finished off a wonderful team move close to the half an hour mark to give the host the lead.
Aitor Monroy’s splendid pass into the box found Farukh, who squared the ball to Castel. The striker chested the ball down before sending it into the net. Minutes later, Memo Moura’s drilled effort found an unmarked Castel in the box. But this time, the striker shot wide from close range.
In a bid to get back into the duel, the visitor turned aggressive in its approach after restart and gave away fouls in its own half. Jamshedpur executed a free-kick routine from the training pitch in one such set-piece opportunity, but Narender Gehlot, who sneaked in behind the defence to get to Acosta’s delivery, headed onto the roof of the net.
NorthEast showed signs of a comeback as the half wore on, with Triadis and Asamoah Gyan seeing more of the ball. The winger fed the Ghanaian through on goal twice in quick succession, but the forward was unable to convert. The Jamshedpur midfield, consisting of Jitendra Singh and Monroy, kept the ball well and frustrated its opponent.
But yet again, there was twist at the death as NorthEast came up with an equaliser against the run of play in the 90th minute.
Gyan flicked a long ball into the path of Triadis, who attacked the space left unattended by Robin Gurung and Memo to flick a finish past Subrata Paul.