Last-gasp Turkovic goal powers NEROCA over Aizawl

An 85th minute winner from Nedo Turkovic powered NEROCA FC to a 2-1 win over reigning I-League champion Aizawl on Saturday.

Action from the I-League encounter between Aizawl FC and NEROCA FC on Saturday.

Neroca FC triumphed 2-1 over the reigning I-League champion Aizawl FC at the Rajiv Gandhi Stadium to leapfrog Kingfisher East Bengal in the league table. 

Nigerian defender Kareem Omolaja scored for the home side in the first half but NEROCA staged a fight back in the second half as Felix Chidi and Nedo Turkovic found the back of the net in the second half to earn a hard-fought win.

Aizawl's head coach Paulo Menezes made two changes in the playing XI as Lalram Hmunmawia and Yugo Kobayashi started in place of suspended Afghan defender Masih Saighani and William Lalnunfela. 

The away side made no changes from its win against Indian Arrows. Shambu Mistry was in goal and Gourmangi Singh led the defence alongside Varney Kallon, Ngaseoam Tondonba, and Ashok Singh.

READ: East Bengal aims for reverse over arch-rival Mohun Bagan

Aizawl got its first shot on goal as early as the first minute but Andrei Ionescu's volley was thwarted away by Shambu. The home side came close to scoring but Andrei's dipping free-kick struck the woodwork. NEROCA enjoyed strong support from their fans but were silenced by Kareem's goal. The lanky defender leaped above the NEROCA's players to score his first goal of the season off a header.

Gift Raikhan's boys almost drew the equaliser just before the halftime. Felix did all the hard work as he skipped past Aizawl defenders and slid a delightful pass to Subash Singh, who failed to find the back of the net.

The halftime break proved vital for the away side as it started to dominate in the second half. But it was the home side which had the first chance when Dodoz's cross was met by Andrei Ionescu, but the Romanian was denied by the woodwork yet again. 

Felix scored the equaliser in the 65th minute after a wonderful team game broke Aizawl defence. While the game seemed to be heading towards a draw, Turkovic stunned Aizawl in the dying minutes of the game when he converted David Biakzara's cross from the left wing to score the winner.

Aizawl went all out but the NEROCA's resolute defence and Shambu's heroic goalkeeping denied the reigning champion a point in its fortress. 

Aizawl next hosts Kolkata giant Mohun Bagan in its next game on Thursday, while NEROCA faces another Northeastern Derby when it hosts Shillong Lajong on Wednesday.

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