The win marked the hosts’ fourth consecutive victory in the league.
Debutants TRAU FC consolidated their position at third on the Hero I-League points table, after a thrilling 2-1 win at home over former champions Aizawl FC on Saturday.
Premjit Singh and Krishnananda Singh scored for the hosts on either side of each half at the Khuman Lampak Stadium in Imphal, in response to Rochharzela’s 22nd minute strike to hand the Imphal-based side the three points.
Both coaches made two changes each from the XI which started their respective previous games. TRAU’s Cypriot gaffer Dimitris Dimitriou was forced to miss Phalguni Singh due to injury and played Premjit in place for good enough rewards later. However, his other change, Abhishek Das in place of Tomnoy Ghosh at right-back, was also to give him a little heartburn in the game.
Stanley Rozario, the visitor’s coach played newly signed Argentine midfielder Matias Veron in place of Isak in midfield and Rochharzela replaced William Lalnunfela upfront.
It was a free-flowing encounter right from the starting whistle with both teams creating enough chances to score the opening goal.
The visitors struck first when in the 22nd minute, a long cross-field ball from just inside the TRAU half by Ramhlunchhunga, found its intended target – Rochharzela – albeit off a mistake by experienced right-back Abhishek Das. The Aizawl midfielder calmly placed the ball away from Mithun Samanta in the TRAU goal and into the back of the net.
The home side hit back five minutes later through the talented winger Premjit Singh. Krishnanda in one of his many breaks down the left-flank, cut in and floated a ball across and outside the box, onto the path of Patrick Uche. The Nigerian’s mistimed shot found its way to an unmarked Premjit inside the box who made no mistake with two defenders converging and with just the keeper to beat.
The second half maintained the momentum of the first and after another set of missed chances by both sides, TRAU found the winner in the 66th thanks to another assist by Uche, this time properly intended and perfectly executed by the Nigerian.
He spotted Krishnananda’s run from well inside his own half and delivered an inch-perfect aerial ball. Krishna met the ball before it could bounce in front of him and unleashed a left-footed volley which beat keeper Lalramhmunmawia at the near post. The keeper could have done better, but it was a snap-shot and dipping at the keeper in the end.
It was good value for Krishna as he had missed an easier chance to score in the 59th off a Zoherliana ball.
The game continued to be open till the end and TRAU, in-fact, had the better chances to increase their lead to run out deserving winners on the day.
This was TRAU’s fourth win on the trot and sixth game unbeaten after a loss to Quess East Bengal over a month back. Former champions Aizawl continue a tough season, registering their second loss in eight games and with five draws and just one win to show, remain ninth out of 11 teams.