The I-League debutants now have 13 points from seven matches.
Sreenidi Deccan continued their charge towards the top of the I-League table with a slender 2–1 victory over the Indian Arrows in Kalyani on Thursday. One goal either side of half-time from Vanlalbiaa Chhangte and David Munoz sealed all three points for Sreenidi Deccan, who saw off a worthy challenge from the Indian Arrows. The Arrows registered a goal courtesy a delicate finish from Velanco Rodrigues right before half time.
Sreenidi Deccan entered into the contest with the wind in their sails, thanks to back-to-back wins in their two previous matches. However, Indian Arrows head coach Shanmugam Venkatesh too was in good spirits before kickoff, insisting that his wards were intent on playing quality football in order to secure points from this encounter.
Clear-cut chances were at a premium all throughout this contest, as the teams battled hard to get the upper hand in midfield. Indian Arrows were dealt an early blow in the match when midfielder Harsh Patre had to come off due to an injury in the 23rd minute. Patre was ably replaced by Lalchhanhima Sailo, as the Indian Arrows remained focussed on the task at hand.
As the game reached the half-hour mark, Sreenidi Deccan struck first to break the deadlock through right-sided midfielder Vanlalbiaa Chhangte. Defender Awal Mohammed played a long diagonal pass over the Indian Arrows backline, catching the Indian Arrows left full-back momentarily out of position in the process.
Chhangte expertly controlled the ball, and had ample time to set himself and pick his spot, as he made no mistake with his near-post finish past the Arrows custodian Zahid Bukhari.
Sreenidi Deccan could have doubled their lead in added time in the first half when Girik Khosla combined well with David Munoz to open up the Arrows defence. After finding Munoz in the box, the Colombian missed an easy opportunity to send Sreenidi Deccan two goals in front at half time.
Indian Arrows continued to persevere, and found a response with one of the last kicks of the ball in the first half. Vibin Mohanan contributed with a fantastic pick-out by finding Velanco Rodrigues inside the box. There was a hint of offside in Rodrigues’ attacking run, but the linesman found no issues with the play and the scores became level again going into half-time.
David Munoz had another chance to send Sreenidi Deccan in front in the 51st minute as he came onto the back post after a flick-on from a corner kick. Having arrived in the right position, the striker was unable to get solid contact on the ball as he claimed to have been impeded by his marker inside the box.
After a slew of missed opportunities, Sreenidi Deccan regained the lead in the 68th minute. It was David Munoz with his sixth goal of the season that gave his team the decisive goal. Right full back Lal Chungnunga played a dangerous ball into a promising area inside the Arrows box, and Colombian David Munoz was on hand to do the rest as he unleashed a commanding header that flashed past Zahid Bukhari.
Sreenidi Deccan let their experience show for the remainder of the contest, denying the Indian Arrows any opportunity to settle into a rhythm in search of an equaliser.
Sreenidi Deccan made it three wins in their last three matches with this result, while the Indian Arrows will look to go back to the drawing board in search of a winning run of their own.