I-League: NEROCA FC beats Shillong Lajong 1-0

Singam Subash Singh scored in the 83rd minute for the visitor to split the sides after a goalless first half in Shillong.

Action from the I-League fixture between NEROCA FC and Shillong Lajong on Saturday.   -  AIFF Media

In the north-eastern derby of the I-League, NEROCA FC edged past Shillong Lajong in an away game to leapfrog its opponent and occupy the third spot in the league. With seven minutes to go for regulation time to lapse, Singam Subash Singh split the two teams, heading home what turned out to be the winning goal off a brilliant cross from Pritam Singh.

More from I-League: Sweet revenge for East Bengal

Both teams were offensive in the first half, but with little to show for their efforts. Despite playing away from home, NEROCA seemed comfortable and confident in offence as its opponent. Among the missed chances in the first half was one by Aimen Saleh Abdullah AL-Hagri of Lajong. NEROCA dominated for a brief period but was resisted by an alert home defence.

Defensive error

The defence was cautious yet again to thwart Singam, who came close to scoring after resumption of play. Singam would not have to wait too long, though, as in the 83rd minute, the defence hadn’t marked him as he converted a cross.

I League 2017: All you need to know about the 10 teams

Nedo Turkovic made his debut for NEROCA in the second half, replacing Israilov Akhlidin. Govind Singh Moirangthem’s injury also forced a substitution; Gift Raikhan, the NEROCA coach, had to introduce Thokchom Naoba Singh in the 79th minute.

NEROCA now has 10 points from five matches, equal to Lajong yet ahead owing to having played a match less. It hosts powerhouse East Bengal on December 30. Lajong, on the other hand, faces an easier challenge - Indian Arrows - in its next I-League assignment in New Delhi.