Kenkre FC beat Sudeva Delhi

Kenkre FC, Mumbai, began their I-League 2022-23 campaign in an emphatic manner, winning 2-1 against hosts Sudeva Delhi FC at the Chhatrasal Stadium in Delhi on Monday, November 14, 2022.

After the teams were locked 1-1 at the half time, Azfar Noorani scored for the winners in the 61st minute to clinch the issue in favour of Kenkre FC in the maiden I-League match at the Chhatrasal Stadium under lights.

The match began with the Mumbai outfit making all efforts to find their attackers through long balls, while Sudeva FC tried to play with quick passes. However, neither team could make any tangible inroad in the rival area. The first real chance got into Sudeva’s way when their Nigerian forward Odili Felix Chidi saw his shot saved by the Kenkre goalkeeper Padam Chettri in the 8th minute. However, four minutes later, Kenkre FC drew the first blood as the defender Ahmed Faiz Khan scored following a corner kick.

The home side grew into the game after conceding the goal and started dictating terms in the midfield. In the 15th minute, a corner kick taken by Sudeva’s 18-year-old Seilenthang Lotjem was defended poorly by the Kenkre defence. Kynsailang Khongsit’s rather uncertain clearance found Sudeva’s captain Nishchal Chandan in a good position, but his powerful shot hit the post.

Though Sudeva FC had an edge in the first half, Kenkre’s Aravindraj Rajan and Noorani managed to keep the rival defence on their toes with some good runs. At the half-hour mark, Kiran Pandhare had a nervy moment when he lost the ball to Felix Chidi but was relieved to find Chidi shot straight to goalkeeper Chettri.

Sudeva’s Japanese recruit, Kosuke Uchida played a pivotal role in the midfield for the hosts as he dropped deep on several occasions to initiate effective moves through the wings. During the add-on times of the first half, young Sudeva winger R Lawmnasangzuala found Basit Ahmed Bhat with a fine cross and Basit’s perfect header found the equaliser for the home side.

The second half began at a slow pace with both teams trying to find their rhythm back. Basit Ahmed remained active on the left with some fine moves with good dribbling. Once he put in a wonderful cross, finding Tetsuaki Misawa who couldn’t keep his shot down. Kenkre regained their lead at the hour mark as Rajan provided a great through ball to Noorani, who struck powerfully to find the target.

Kenkre almost scored the third goal when Noorani put in a cross from the left flank for Kiran Pandhare, who came up with a good header but his attempt was saved by the Sudeva Delhi custodian Ashish Sibi. Sudeva stepped up their attacks in the final quarter. Substitute Francis Uchenna Nwankwo put in multiple crosses into the opponents’ box but his teammates failed to capitalise on them. The goodly crowd, who came to Chhatrasal Stadium to witness the  return of I-League to Delhi, cheered the home side throughout the match and constantly motivated the boys.

A hard-fought win for RoundGlass Punjab over Sreenidi Deccan

RoundGlass Punjab FC ran out 2-1 winners in their first I-League 2022-23 match, defeating Sreenidi Deccan today (November 14, 2022) at the Tau Devi Lal Stadium in Panchkula, Haryana.

First half strikes from Luka Majcen and Samuel Lalmuanpuia were for the home side to clinch the three points, with Sreenidi defender Shahabaaz Khan scoring in the 58th minute.

The first half began on a tentative note as both teams looked to enter their respective passing rhythms. Attacks were few and far between in the opening 15 minutes.

The home side started to dominate the exchanges eventually and the first major chance came in the 21st minute after a free-kick from the left flank was headed towards his own goal by Sreenidi Deccan FC defence, which had to be cleared off the line at the last second.

Two minutes later, RoundGlass Punjab FC’s pressure paid dividends. A quick throw-in from the right flank found Brandon Vanlalremdika in space inside the penalty area. He chipped a cross in for Majcen and the Slovenian marksman smartly placed it beyond the keeper via his near post.

The Punjab side continued to create waves of attack, with Majcen’s shot from close range blocked on the goal-line in the 38th minute. However, he was narrowly offside as well while receiving the ball.

With two minutes of the first half left to play, RoundGlass Punjab FC doubled their lead through Lalmuanpuia. After Majcen was brought down at the edge of the penalty area, the midfielder took the free-kick and placed it over the wall and past the goalkeeper, much to the delight of the home fans.

The best chance of the half for the visitors came at the half hour mark after a free-kick from the right flank posed questions of the defence but Adnan Secerovic was on hand to clear in time.

The away side looked to switch things around in the second with attacker David Munoz coming on as a substitute. They created an opening in the 54th minute as Louis Ogana played a low cross from the right, which was collected safely by Kiran Limbu.

Sreenidi, however, continued to press and halved the deficit in the 58th minute. Gabriel’s cross was palmed away from goal by Limbu, and Khan got his head to the loose ball first and put it into the net.

The match grew in intensity and RoundGlass Punjab FC came close to finding their third goal in the 68th minute. Krishnananda Singh won the ball high up the pitch and charged towards the by-line from the left wing but his cross was inches away from finding Majcen.

Six minutes later, the striker almost played in substitute Pranjal Bhumij on a fast counter-attack but his pass was inaccurate and collected by Sreenidi keeper Aryan Lamba.

The Hyderabad-based side piled on the pressure in search of the equalizer towards the end, but the Punjab backline thwarted their attempts. Substitute Songpu Singsit fired in a long ranger with six minutes left to play, but it flashed narrowly over the bar.

The score remained the same as the referee sounded the final blow of his whistle after six minutes of added time. A determined RoundGlass Punjab FC collected all three points despite a strong second half performance by Sreenidi Deccan FC.

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