Sports ISL

Jeje Lalpekhlua celebrates Chennaiyin FC’s win over Jamshedpur FC in an Indian Super League match Dec 28. (IANS photo)

JAMSHEDPUR — Chennaiyin FC consolidated its position at the top of the points table with a 1-0 win over Jamshedpur FC in an Indian Super League encounter here Dec. 28.

Jeje Lalpekhlua (41st minute) scored the only goal of the match from the penalty spot shortly before half-time to help the visitors walk away with the full three points.

Chennaiyin now has 16 points from eight matches, four points ahead of second-placed FC Goa.

Jamshedpur remains in the sixth spot in the 10-team table with nine points from seven matches.

A first-half of two penalties – one scored and one missed – decided the outcome of the match.

Just when it seemed the first-half would be remembered for its flurry of half chances, the referee pointed to the spot when Mehtab Hossain took a tumble in his own box and handled the ball in the process. 

Lalpekhlua sent Jamshedpur goalkeeper Subrata Pal the other way with a smart penalty for his fourth goal of the season, and it turned out to be the difference between the two teams.

 But the drama was hardly over in the first period when the referee awarded a very soft penalty at the other end. 

Chennaiyin manager John Gregory was fuming at the touchline and was sent into the stands for his reaction, but Kervens Belfort's effort was saved brilliantly by the visitors' goalkeeper Karanjit Singh. 

It was the closest that the hosts came to equalizing because the second-half was a cagey affair with lots of mistakes from both sets of attackers in the final third. 

The best moment came from Lalpekhlua himself, but he blasted over in the dying seconds from Germanpreet Singh's pass.

Apart from the penalty, Jamshedpur's defense held firm in the first-half but there was more action for their attackers.

It all started with Mehtab Hossain finding space down the right, but the impending shot from Belfort was well saved by Karanjit Singh. 

An interesting strategy throughout the game was that of holding a very high line whenever Chennaiyin got a deep set-piece.

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