DSK Shivajians FC was done in by Neroca FC 0-3 and with it ended their dream run in the 128th Durand Cup at the Ambedkar Stadium, New Delhi on Friday.
The Manipur-side netted via Sushil Kumar Singh (36th minute), Malemnganba Meitei (65th), Anandkumar Singh (90+3′) to squash DSK Shivajians hopes.
The loss, however, did ensure that DSK Shivajians pieced history for themselves. They became the first team from Pune to reach the Durand Cup semifinals.
DSK Manager Dave Rogers made five changes in his playing eleven. Given starts were goalkeeper Sayak Barai, Mohd. Sajid Dhot, Vanlalremkima, K. Lalthathanga, while Lalawmpuia earned his maiden first start. Making way were Rakshit Dagar, Zohmingliana Ralte, Sairuat Kima, Hitova Ayemi and Gagandeep Singh.
DSK Shivajians began the game on the offensive and had close chances early on with a host of corner kicks. Defender Mohd. Sajid Dhot went the closest in the 10th minute when his header off Juan Quero’s corner kick from the right whizzed past the second post.
Post the break; Neroca FC began pushing up and creating pressure around the DSK Shivajians box. Medio Rohit Kumar was pulled up for a late tackle on rival striker Singam Subash Singh and the referee awarded Neroca FC a penalty-kick. Sushil Kumar Singh stepped up to send the goalkeeper the wrong way (0-1).
DSK Shivajians re-composed themselves and began pushing up. However, despite having the better chances, the score at halftime favoured Neroca FC 1-0.
The second half began with both sides playing a high tempo game. DSK Shivajians were charging up from the flanks as Neroca pushed up on counter attacks.
Ten minutes in, DSK Manager Dave Rogers made the first change as Juan Quero made way for North Korean striker Kim Song Yong with DSK Shivajians seeking an equaliser.
However, it was Neroca FC who doubled their lead in the 65th minute. Sushil Kumar Singh curled in a cross from the right to find David Lalbiakzara in the box. The ex-Shivajians midfielder chested the ball down to K. Malemnganba Meitei who smashed home a half-volley from the top edge of the box leaving custodian Sayak Barai helpless in the DSK Shivajians goal (0-2).
DSK Shivajians kept pressing high up in search of a goal and almost reduced the deficit in the 78th minute. Substitute Kim Song Yong received a long ball on the right as he managed to break the offside trap and run clear in the box. However, as he tried to lob the keeper, his attempt went agonisingly wide. Minutes later Lalawmpuia benefited from the loose ball after the rival ‘keeepr had a soft collection, but his effort way wayward with no one, but a defender in goal.
Three minutes into injury time, Neroca FC sealed the game with another goal when substitute Anandkumar Singh finished off a cross from the right flank by Subash Singh to make the scoreline 0-3.