I-League: Neroca ekes out 3-2 win over Gokulam Kerala

Neroca FC sneaked out of the relegation zone with a hard-fought 3-2 triumph over Gokulam Kerala FC in their I-League match on Friday.

NEROCA

Neroca players celebrate a goal during their 3-2 win over Gokulam Kerala FC in the I-League on Friday.   -  I-League

Neroca FC sneaked out of the relegation zone with a hard-fought 3-2 triumph over Gokulam Kerala FC in their I-League match here on Friday.

The home side got off to a cracking start as Pritam Singh found the back of the net in the second minute. A mistimed clearance by the Gokulam defence saw the ball land for Pritam, who made no mistake in slotting it home.

While the early goal did serve as a rude jolt to the visiting side, it soon regrouped and found the equaliser.

Shibil Muhammed restored parity for Gokulam Kerala in the 25th minute when he converted Marcus Joseph's through ball.

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Gokulam then began its trademark passing game, with Joseph, Nataniel Garcia and Atuheire Kipson piling pressure on the Neroca defence.

The sustained pressure paid off as the visiting side took the lead in the 40th minute when a short cross from Joseph found Nataniel Garcia, who slotted home with a gem of a goal to go into the breather with a 2-1 lead.

Neroca pressed hard after the change of ends and it bore fruit when Sebastian’s throw to Irshad was intercepted by Neroca’s Philip Adjah, who scored a beautiful goal in the 48th minute to bring the game back to level terms.

Gokulam coach Fernando Varela introduced Henry Kisseka early into the second half and the change added pace and vigour, but lacked the desired result.

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Neroca boss Gift Rai Khan threw his last dice with a couple of changes in the final 10 minutes, having introduced Chanso Horam and Siam Hangal, replacing Subash Singh and Busai Attila.

The changes had an immediate impact as Chanso’s cross, which was sloppily defended by Jestin George, landed straight into the feet of Ronald Singh, who found the back of the net in the 81st minute to hand his side the win.

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