Katsumi Yusa struck a brace as Neroca FC rallied to beat Indian Arrows 3-2 in an exciting I-League match in Bhubaneshwar on Friday.
Yusa struck in the 68th and 87th (penalty) minutes while Felix Chidi (38th) was the other goal scorer for Neroca.
Boris Thangjam (34th) and Rohit Danu (62th) found the target for the home side in the match played at the Kalinga Stadium.
The match began on a slow pace with Neroca playing a much-organised game and enjoying better possession. The Manipur-based side had some fine attempts, but a goal eluded them due to lack of good finishing.
The Arrows, who were trying hard to come back into the game, kept pushing on the counter but could not really succeed in doing that.
Their efforts, however, were soon rewarded when Boris made the most of an opportunity and converted a cross from the right side to fire in a goal for Arrows in the 34th minute. This was also the 200th goal of the I-League this season.
Neroca soon found the equaliser four minutes later through Chidi. The game thereafter opened up a bit and both sides were attacking in short bursts but neither of them could convert any of the chances that came their way. The first half ended 1-1.
In the second half, a defensive error cost Neroca dear as they conceded a goal in the 62nd minute.
Rohit Danu made the most of the situation as he dispossessed the Neroca center-back and showed his alertness to comfortably find the back of the net to regain the lead for Indian Arrows.
However, the Imphal side, who finished runners-up last season, yet again found an equaliser through a brilliant header from Yusa in the 68th minute. The Japanese was given time and space in the Arrows penalty area and he headed past the opposition goalkeeper off a cross from the right flank.
The game thereafter saw Neroca creating many chances but they were unable to find the lead until the 87th minute when a handball inside the Arrows box saw the visitors being awarded a penalty kick.
Yusa made no mistake in finding the back of the net to seal the match for his side.