Football

I-League | Neroca beats Gokulam

Pritam Ningthoujam drew first blood for Neroca FC in the second minute before Shibil Muhammed restored parity for Gokulam in the 25th minute

Host Neroca FC eked out a narrow 3-2 win over Gokulam Kerala FC in a Hero I-League match to come out of the relegation zone here on Friday.

Pritam Ningthoujam drew first blood for Neroca FC in the second minute before Shibil Muhammed restored parity for Gokulam in the 25th minute.

The visitors then took the lead through Nataniel Garcia in the 40th minute.

After the breather, Neroca FC equalised in the 48th minute through Philip Adjah.

Neroca scored its third goal nine minutes from the end of regulation time through Ronald Singh to register a much-needed win.

Neroca FC started pressing hard for an early lead from the start. And its initial surge paid dividends when a mistimed clearance by the visitors saw the ball land in front of Pritam, who made no mistake in slotting home.

Gokulam reorganised itself and thereafter started attacking the Manipur side. Soon, Muhammed restored parity for the visitor after receiving a through ball from Marcus Joseph.

Gokulam then started its trademark passing game all over the pitch.

Joseph, Nataniel Garcia and Atuheire Kipson kept pressing hard for the visitors, keeping the lacklustre Neroca defence on its toes.

The Kerala outfit pulled ahead in the 40th minute when a short cross from Joseph found Garcia, who slotted home with a gem of a goal.

After the change of ends, Neroca pressed hard and its efforts soon paid dividends when Sebastian’s throw to Irshad was anticipated rightly by Neroca’s Philip Adjah, who scored a beautiful goal in the 48th minute to cancel the visitors’ lead.

Neroca shifted gears but the finesse in front of the opposition goal was missing.

Gokulam coach Fernando Varela introduced Henry Kisseka early into the second half. The change added pace and vigour but lacked the desired result.

Neroca boss Gift Rai Khan threw his last dice with a couple of changes in the final 10 minutes, introducing Chanso Horam and Siam Hangal, replacing Subash Singh and Busai Attila.

The changes yielded result immediately when Chanso’s cross, which was sloppily defended by Jestin George, landed straight into the feet of Ronald Singh, who made no mistake.

The result: Neroca FC 3 (Pritam Ningthoujam 2, Philip Adjah 48, Ronald Singh 81) bt Gokulam FC 2 (Shibil Muhammed 25, Nataniel Garcia 40).

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Printable version | Apr 7, 2020 11:32:34 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/sport/football/i-league-neroca-beats-gokulam/article30883348.ece

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