I-League: Saika salvages 2-2 draw for NEROCA against Chennai City FC

Boubacar Siaka 64th minute strike helped NEROCA FC to come from two goals down to hold champion Chennai City FC to a 2-2 draw on Saturday.

Boubacar Siaka (centre) scored the crucial equaliser for NEROCA FC.

Neroca FC held defending champion Chennai City FC to a 2-2 draw in the Hero I-league clash at the Nehru Stadium here on Saturday.

The other day, the CCFC coach Akbar Nawas had said the team was not composed enough and needs to attack and defend better. But, this time around, the boys played to their strengths.

The absence of foreign players did not affect the team’s game plan. The CCFC boys enjoyed a better ball possession and attacked like never before.

Captain Roberto Eslava (Spain) came up with some effective passes from the back and the men upfront too were quick on their feet. They did trouble the Neroca defence consistently but failed to reach the net.

After working hard for most part, the home team finally managed to find two goals in the space of seven minutes. It was midfielder Katsumi Yusa who shot the team into the lead in the 25th minute. The Japanese star, who played for the visiting side last season, took the defence by surprise with his brilliant run. But, he was brought down inside the box. The referee was quick to show the spot and Katsumi made no mistake.

Striker Mashoor Shereef followed it up with a super header in the 32nd minute. It was Jockson Dhas, who was instrumental in packing a beauty from the left. And, just when it seemed a fruitful first session for CCFC, Neroca pulled one back through Khaiminthang Lhungdim in the dying seconds of the injury time.

The second half was played in a similar pattern but Neroca drew level through Boubacar Siaka’s penalty in the 64th minute. CCFC could have made it 3-2 had substitute Ranjeet Singh not messed up a chance in front of the goalmouth.

The result

Chennai City FC 2 (Katsumi Yusa 25, Mashoor Shereef 32) drew with Neroca FC 2 (Khaiminthang 45+3, Boubacar Siaka 64).

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