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Last Updated Wednesday January 17 2018 12:46 AM IST

I-League: NEROCA FC outplay Gokulam

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I-League: NEROCA FC outplay Gokulam Representational image

Kozhikode: Two first-half goals from Felix Chidi and Pritam Singh and a sublime header from Ronald Singh in injury time completed a 3-0 win for Neroca FC over Gokulam Kerala FC as they opened their account in the I-League here on Saturday.

Chidi opened the scoring in the 23rd minute, Pritam doubled the lead in the 43rd minute and Ronald added to the tally in injury time (90+4).

Bino George's boys almost snatched an early lead within seconds of kick off, but the assistant referee flagged it offside to provide some respite to Gift Raikhan and his boys.

Gokulam Kerala FC striker Mbele's attempt in the 17th second of the match was deemed off side.

On a counter attack, Neroca FC almost scored, but Mohamed Salah charged at the last moment to keep the scoreline unchanged.

After the early drama in either half of the pitch, the pace of the game mellowed down a bit which was brilliantly utiliszd by the visitors when they took the lead in the 23rd minute.

Tondomba put in a long ball directed to the Nigerian striker who did no mistake going past Pravat Lakra to tap it home to silent the 8000-odd home crowd.

Meanwhile, it was the Nigerian striker's second goal in as many games.

Following the goal, the visitors continued to push the hosts to double the lead, but the yellow outfit somehow contained the Manipuri attacks until the 43rd minute when Pritam Singh headed their second goal, much to Gokulam Kerala FC's dismay.

Subash Singh outran the defender down the left flank and unleashed a juicy cross inside the six-yard box which was brilliantly converted by Pritam to leave Mohamed Salah and Provat Lakra completely perplexed.

Neroca FC went to the dressing room with a 2-0 lead over the hosts at the half-time.

Bino George rang a couple of changes after the changeover in their pursuit of the elusive goal when Shinu S and Meitie were introduced at the expense of Mohamed Salah and Gulom Urunov respectively.

As Shinu was deployed at the heart of the defense, Provat Lakra pushed himself to the left wing to add more vigor to the attacking third, but Neroca FC handled that without much fuss.

Irshad put in a low cross for Mbele in the 63rd minute, but Aussie defender Aryn Williams went for a last-minute tackle to maintain the clean sheet.

Bino Geroge introduced the fresh pair of legs in terms of Usman Ashiq sixteen minutes to the final whistle who threatened the visitors time and again but they couldn't breach the Neroca FC defense.

Super-sub Ronald who replaced Subash Singh five minutes to the final whistle headed in the final goal.

With the win, Neroca FC moved up to the fifth position in the table with three points from two matches while the Gokulam went down to the eighth spot with a solitary point from three matches.

Read also: More Cricket NewsRanji Trophy: Vidarbha in firm control against Kerala

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