Real Kashmir FC continued to make the most of their seven-game run at home, registering a 1-0 victory over NEROCA FC at the TRC Turf Ground in Srinagar on Wednesday.
One of Kashmir’s own, Danish Farooq scored what turned out to be the match-winner in the 42nd minute.
The result takes Real Kashmir to the third place on the Hero I-League standings with 22 points, while Neroca remain in the relegation spot with 15.
Sandeep Chattoo, co-owner of Real Kashmir FC, said, “It was an emphatic win after a surprise draw on last Saturday. The win was important for lifting the morale of the team.”
Tributes poured in from the stands and the Kashmir squad for their young midfielder Ritwik Kumar Das, who couldn’t be part of the action following the untimely death of his father.
Chesterpoul Lyngdoh took his place in the XI, accounting for the only alteration David Robertson made to his line-up.
Gift Raikhan, on the other hand, made three changes. Chanso Horam and Zodingliana Ralte were reinstated in midfield, while Ronald Singh started ahead of Boubacar Diarra upfront.
The hosts threatened early and had the better exchanges. The first knock arrived in the 7th minute when Bazie Arman’s wayward clearance turned out to be a good cross-field delivery for Mason Robertson instead. The Scot latched onto it and went for the spectacular on the volley from the edge of the box, finding the side-netting.
A bizarre turn of events ensued four minutes later. Neroca’s Ousmane Diawara was shown a straight red. The Neroca players pleaded his cause and after a brief consultation with the assistant referee, the red card was overturned, much to Raikhan’s relief.
Neroca did trouble the Kashmir backline on occasions. In the 20th minute, Pritam Singh made a good run and after seemingly running out of ideas, he squared it across for Zodingliana, who whipped in a low delivery across goal.
Ronald Singh got his outstretched foot to the end of the cross but Kashmir keeper Phurba Lachenpa was alert to the danger and did well to keep it out.
The deadlock was broken in the 42nd minute, when Chesterpaul Lyngdoh’s cross found Danish Farooq completely unmarked and the local lad made no mistake with his headed finish it across goal to put his side ahead.
Danish could have made it two in the dying seconds of stoppage time but was denied by some fine goalkeeping.
The Snow Leopards remained in pursuit of a two-goal cushion, but were denied by narrow margins. In the 52nd minute, Chesterpaul Lyngdoh made a good overlapping run, coming to Higginbotham’s aid who had been closed down by three orange shirts near the touchline.
Uche’s spot-kick helps TRAU complete double over Churchill Brothers
Oguchi Uche’s lone strike from the spot powered TRAU FC to a 1-0 win over Churchill Brothers in the I-League in Imphal on Wednesday.
TRAU have now risen to eighth with 19 points from 16 matches while Churchill Brothers FC Goa remain stranded at fourth with 20 points from 14 games.
The victory also helped the team from Imphal complete their double over the Goans for the season as they had earlier came out victorious 2-1 at Fatorda.
It also marked the first victory under coach L Nandakumar Singh after a winless streak of six consecutive matches since the departure of Dimitris Dimitriou.
The first half of the match turned out to be a battle of equals as none of the teams were able to make anything of their attacks. The first half saw mere five shots in total with Churchill Brothers having four of them but none of them were on target. With a ball possession of 49 percent, TRAU left more job to do in the second half.
The only major action happened when Dawda Ceesay made through the TRAU defence and left the ball for Socrates Pedro to have a go but his shot went well wide of the far post. The first half ended with both teams tied at 0-0.
The second half resumed with the home team TRAU taking the initiative. The first moment of the half came when a dipping volley from distance by Netrajit Singh hit the post of the Churchill Brothers goal in the 47th minute.
TRAU was gaining in confidence with each passing minute in the half. In the 75th minute, a rash tackle on Princewill Emeka Olariche in the Churchill Brother’s box gave the home team a penalty.
Oguchi Uche stepped up to take the spot-kick and he found the bottom left corner of the net to earn a much-needed lead in the 77th minute.
After the goal, the team in red was looking in firm control as they worked the ball around to keep Churchill Brothers at bay. Finally, a chance came for the Goan outfit when Willis Plaza found himself in a comfortable position but his header went over the bar.