It overcomes a late burst
TIRUCHI: Jharkhand made heavy weather of its win against Orissa in a cluster IV league match of the National Football Championship here on Wednesday.
Despite taking a 3-0 lead by the 62nd minute, Jharkhand had to tackle a late burst from Orissa before scraping through to a 3-2 win.
Jharkhand, which was too defensive in its earlier fixture against Goa, attacked from the start. A spectacular free kick from near the half-line by skipper Subodh Kumar put Jharkhand ahead in the 20th minute. His curling kick was totally misjudged by the Orissa custodian Debi Prasad Das. Two minutes later, Suresh Kaundi headed a lovely cross from Jagtar Singh to give his team a 2-0 advantage.
Seventeen minutes into the second session, Jharkhand’s Subodh — one of the five Tata Football Academy players in the side — fired in a right footer from the edge of the box, taking advantage of a feeble defence.
The match looked all but over at that point. But the Orissa players thought otherwise. Cashing in on the lethargy of the Jharkhand players, Orissa bounced back. Gyana Ranjan Samal made the first strike in the 64th minute.
Thirteen minutes later, Ranjan’s cross found an unmarked Ashok Das, who slotted home his team’s second goal. Orissa pressed hard for the equaliser but in vain.
“Ours is a young side and it is a good learning experience for the boys. At the end of the day we have won the game, although we could have done it with much ease,” said Md. Salim, the Jharkhand coach.
The results: Jharkhand 3 (Subodh Kumar 20’, 62’, Suresh Kaundi 22’) bt Orissa 2 (Gyana Ranjan Samal 64’, Ashok Das 77’).
Thursday’s match: Madhya Pradesh vs. Puducherry (7 a.m.); Jammu & Kashmir vs. Mizoram (4 p.m.).