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Efficient East Bengal take over Jamshedpur FC to keep play-offs hopeful

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The Red and Golds beat Owen Coyle’s Jamshedpur FC with the greatest efficiency to return to victory …

East Bengal finally ended their five-game winless streak in the current Indian Super League (ISL) season by overtaking Jamshedpur FC on Sunday.

The Rouge et Or were guilty of failing to convert the odds that presented themselves. With the exception of the loss to Bengaluru FC, the Kolkata side were competitive and, at times, didn’t have the chance to drop points. However, against Jamshedpur FC, East Bengal scored one goal in each half to score three important points.

The Kolkata giants quickly took the lead as Matti Steinmann steered the ball into the net on a corner kick from Narayan Das.The left-back had a fantastic outing against Jamshedpur as he moved up and down the flank with ease to deliver perfect centers in the box.

East Bengal grabbed the headlines at the start of the season as the first Indian club to hire a dedicated set-piece coach from Terrence McPhillips. Against Jamshedpur, there were several variations in their kicking routine that often confused the defense of Jamshedpur, who struggled to keep them at bay.

Sarthak Golui, who arrived from Mumbai City FC, took the start alongside experienced Raju Gaikwad who returned to the lineup after a long injury break. With two Indian center-backs and Danny Fox, East Bengal have deployed four foreign players in attack for the very first time this season.

Anthony Pilkington only scored his second goal of the campaign and came close when his shot came out of the woodwork. The former Norwich City forward has not been in top form since getting injured midway through the season.

Anthony Pilkington, Jamshedpur vs. East Bengal

Scoring has been a problem for Jamshedpur FC as the Men of Steel have only scored three times in five matches. They have also won only one game in their last five outings. Last season’s Golden Boot winner Nerijus Valskis had a perfect start to his campaign this year, but goals have dried up for the Lithuanian talisman as he hasn’t scored in the last six games.

Farukh Choudhary, who returned to Jamshedpur after an unsuccessful stint with Mumbai City, set up Valskis but the striker’s deflected effort came off the post. Choudhary and Seminlen Doungel struggled to impact the proceedings and Valskis was seen backing up in order to create openings.

Owen Coyle’s team struggled to set the scene on fire in January. They are too dependent on Valskis to score and none of the other attacking players have been able to step up.

Assistant coach Tony Grant mentioned that if East Bengal qualifies for the play-offs they have to win all four of their matches. Three of their remaining four matches are against the top four teams, but if they can replicate their performance against Jamshedpur, it is not impossible to reserve a place in the play-offs.