I-League: Ousmane Diawara secures narrow win for Neroca FC

Neroca FC defender Ousmane Diawara scored the only goal of the match to help beat Aizawl FC, which registered 15 shots, in the I-League.

Action from the I-League match between Neroca FC and Aizawl FC.   -  SPECIAL ARRANGEMENT

Neroca FC won the first Northeastern derby of the I-League season as Ousmane Diawara’s goal in the 28th minute helped beat Aizawl FC, which dominated the possession with 57 per cent of the ball but ultimately failing to convert any of its 15 shots.  

The match started with both the teams looking to move forward in the initial moments of the game. Though Neroca FC was enjoying the majority of the possession, Aizawl looked sharp with its passing and running with the ball.

The first major chance of the half came in the 13th minute for the home team but Chanso Horam, who had a clear shot failed to convert the same. With this first chance, Neroca was began to grow in confidence and this time the chance came from the right side but the young No. 9 Khaiminthang Lhungdim hit the side-netting in the 22nd minute.

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The crunch moment of the game came in the 27th minute, when Neroca got a free-kick from just outside the 18-yard box. Zodingliana's thunderous left-footed kick hit the goal post and Ousmane Diawara capitalised on the rebound, as he put the ball in the back of the net with 28 minutes on the clock.

In the dying minutes of the half, Aizawl made advances especially down the right flank as Isak Vanlalruatfela posed problems for the defence. With just a few seconds remaining in the first half, Neroca FC got another chance to double its lead but the shot on goal by Chanso Horam deflected off the body of an Aizawl defender for a corner.

The first half ended with the home team leading 1-0.

After the changeover, Aizawl FC got a corner but the resulting header was cleared by the Neroca defence from the goal line.  In the 66th minute, Aizawl brought on K. Lalhmangaihkima for William Lalnunfela in order to provide better supply to Abdoulaye Kanoute.

Soon after, Neroca FC made a tactical change by bringing on a midfielder Ronald Singh for Khaiminthang Lhungdim.

Aizawl kept pushing forward but wasn’t able to break the Neroca defence. The away team came closer to scoring an equaliser in the dying moments but the shot from the outside of the box rattled the Neroca goal post and went out of bound.

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