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I-League 2023-24: NEROCA FC hold 10-man Sreenidi Deccan, boost Mohammedan's title hopes

Published at :April 4, 2024 at 10:18 PM
Modified at :April 4, 2024 at 10:18 PM
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(Courtesy : AIFF media)

Khel Now

NEROCA FC created great chances throughout the game in the I-league clash against Sreenidi.

Sreenidi Deccan FC’s slim title hopes shrunk further as they were held to a 1-1 draw against NEROCA FC at the SSA Stadium on April 4, 2024. Down to 10 men in the first half, NEROCA took a shock second-half lead, and then defended valiantly to hold Sreenidi Deccan to one point.

Sreenidi Deccan now have 44 points with 2 games of the season to play, trailing Mohammedan Sporting by 5 points. Mohammedan Sporting need just one point from their remaining two games to become I-League champions. Sreenidi, on the other hand, need to not only win theirs but also hope Mohammedan somehow lose both their remaining encounters in the league.

Both sides were denied by the woodwork in the first half. The best chance of the half though fell to William de Oliviera, fresh off a brace in his previous start. Played through by a through ball, the Brazilian had only the goalkeeper to beat from inside the box. He blazed it high.

NEROCA FC hold 10-man Sreenidi Deccan, boost Mohammedan's title hopes.
NEROCA FC vs Sreenidi Deccan match in action. (Image Source: AIFF)

Despite Sreenidi overwhelming the hosts with their possession-heavy football, NEROCA did well to create openings at the break. A flurry of chances opened up for both teams as the half came to a close. First, from a Faysal Shayesteh freekick, Eli Sabia headed on to the crossbar, and then almost immediately after, Baoringdao Bodo rattled the Sreenidi crossbar with a brilliant right-footed effort, having cut in at the top of the box.

With mere minutes remaining though, NEROCA shot themselves in the foot. Defender Ronaldo Nongthombam picked up a second yellow for a needless handball near the halfway line. He got his marching orders, leaving NEROCA with lots to do in the second period.

The game settled into a pattern in the second half, with Sreenidi dominating possession but NEROCA’s low block defence restricting any chances in the final third. The game turned on its head in the 70th minute when Jagdeep Singh fouled Lourembam David Singh inside the box. The 10 men of NEROCA had a chance to take a shock lead and Rohit Meetei slotted home the penalty to make sure they did so.

Desperate times called for desperate measures, and with Sreenidi’s title hopes dimming even further, Carlos Vaz Pinto threw on all his attackers in the search for a goal. In the 81st, David Castaneda, one of those substitutions, was fouled inside the box by Bodo, and put away the subsequent spot kick to draw them level.

Castaneda was guilty of a shocking miss with three minutes of the game left. He met a cross from the right, unmarked inside the six-yard area, but somehow headed high. In an extended period of injury time, Sreenidi kept pushing for the equaliser, only to be denied by the heroics of Jackson Singh in the NEROCA goal.

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