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Sun, 25 Feb 2018

Northeast Today

I-League: Neroca FC Blank Indian Arrows 2-0, Aizawl Hold East Bengal

I-League: Neroca FC Blank Indian Arrows 2-0, Aizawl Hold East Bengal
January 17
12:39 2018

Neroca FC scored a goal in each half to beat Indian Arrows 2-0 in an entertaining match of the I- League at Tilak Stadium in Vasco on Tuesday.

Both the teams played an attacking game but it was Neroca who had more of the ball possession and scoring chances especially in the first half. The Manipur side took the lead through an own goal by Arrows defender Anwar Ali in the 18th minute before Odil Felix Chidi (90+3) found the net in the stoppage time.

The win took Neroca’s tally to 18 points from nine matches, one point less than East Bengal who are second but have played one more game. Indian Arrows remained on 10 points from 11 matches to be at seventh position.

Neroca had scoring chances in the first half but were not successful in finding the net until Arrows defender Anwar committed a mistake to score an own goal in the 18th minute. A move on the left saw Yumnam Gopi Singh send a cross and Anwar attempted to head the ball to keeper Prabukhan Singh Gill.

The Arrows goalkeeper could not get to the ball which rolled into the net. Aryn Glen Williams nearly increased the lead for Neroca in the 29th minute when he saw Gill come out of his charge but his lob could not beat the Arrows goalie.

Neroca, who had beaten the Arrows 2-1 at home, kept on the pressure as they played long balls on the flanks and came close to scoring twice. First Singam Subash Singh saw his left footer sailed inches over the bar and later at the stroke of halftime, Felix Chidi’s attempt was cleared by defender Jitendra Singh on the goal line.

Indian Arrows showed a lot of promises as they attacked from the flanks but found the going tough against the rival defence who did not allow them space.

The Arrows coach Luis Norton De Matos made two quick changes at the start of the second half in order to find the equaliser. The youngsters showed lot of urgency in their attack with quick passes but the rival defence did well to defend their citadel with good interception to deny Arrows the equaliser.

With the Arrows doing most of the attack, Neroca played it safe before Felix Chidi scored after getting past a rival defender and the keeper to slot the ball into the net.

Meanwhile, defending champions Aizawl FC and East Bengal played out a goal-less draw in an entertaining I- League match in Aizawl on Tuesday, with both sides failing to convert the chances that came their ways. The game started with a high tempo as the home side pressed for an early goal.

Liberian midfielder Jaryan’s shot flew just wide of the post and William Lalnunfela was awarded a golden opportunity by Albert only to waste it from six yards. East Bengal grew in confidence and Katsumi was looking dangerous, especially from the dead ball situations but Avilash Paul stood like a rock at the Aizawl goal.

At the half-hour mark, Katsumi was unlucky as his thunderous shot struck the crossbar. He poked at the rebound again but Aizawl goalkeeper Avilash pushed it over. East Bengal introduced local boy Brandon in the first half but the diminutive Mizo winger could not make much of influence.

With the quarter of the game gone, Jaryan again tested East Bengal goalkeeper Barreto with his powerful right foot shot but Eduardo thwarted the danger much to the dismay of the home fans. The second half began with a heated altercation between players of both sides as former Aizawl midfielder Al-Amna and Afghan defender Masih Saighani were both booked by referee Rosario Fernandes.

Midfield battle was the highlight of the game as both sides found it hard to engineer an open goal-mouth action. Brandon’s curling effort from outside the box was miraculously palmed away by Avilash Paul to keep the scoreline unchanged. Menezes introduced local striker Lalkhawpuimawia in search of a goal and Khalid brought in Willis Plaza minutes later but a goal eluded both sides.

Aizawl will host Neroca FC on January 20 whereas the Red & Golds will lock their horns with Mohun Bagan in the much- anticipated Kolkata Derby on January 21.

-PTI

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