Braces galore and Chennai City go top of the table at the end of Matchday 4 in the I-League.
Minerva Punjab head in the right direction with Lancine Toure
FULL-TIME: Aizawl FC 1 – Minerva Punjab FC 2
Aizawl FC: Leonce Dodoz (84′ [P]); Minerva Punjab: Lancine Toure (10′, 58′)
Lancine Toure powered Minerva Punjab FC to a 2-1 win against Aizawl FC at the Rajiv Gandhi stadium in Aizawl.
The hosts had a sight on goal early on when Dodoz forced a save off Bhaskar Roy. The Minerva goalie also had to contend with David Lalrinmuana’s freekick in the 6th minute.
Four minutes later, Minerva got a break when Lancine Toure headed in a William Opoku corner to give Minerva the lead.
Both sides missed a couple of more chances, but Minerva took their one-goal lead into the break.
Aizawl began the second half strongly, but like in the first half, Minerva came back into the game with Lancine Toure scoring his second goal of the match. Another header off a William Opoku corner gave Minerva a two-goal lead in the 59th minute.
The hosts were given a lifeline 6 minutes from time when Akashdeep Singh handled the ball in the penalty area. Dodoz converted from the spot to set up an exciting finish.
Minerva bolstered their defense to hold on for their first win and take their tally to 4 points. Aizawl are at the bottom of the table with 2 points.
Dicka brace leads Bagan to victory
FULL-TIME: Indian Arrows 0 – Mohun Bagan AC 2
Mohun Bagan: Dipanda Dicka (30′, 45′ [P])
A brace by Dipanda Dicka helped Mohun Bagan register a 2-0 win over Indian Arrows at Cuttack’s Barabati stadium.
The striker, who was the top scorer of the previous two editions of the I-League, took scored in the 30-minute mark when he met with a Henry Kisseka cross to give his side the lead.
The lead was doubled in the 45th minute when a handball in the penalty area gave Mohun Bagan a chance to pull away from the young Arrows team. Dicka stepped up to slot in his second of the match.
Bagan dominated the match in the second half with Dicka nearly getting his hattrick in the 68th minute. The Cameroonian rose high to connect with an Arijit Bagui cross from the right flank, only to be denied brilliantly by the Arrows goalie.
Arrows were unable to muster any attack of note as Bagan held on for the three points to take their total to 5 in third place.
NEROCA pick up their first win of the season
FULL-TIME: Real Kashmir FC 0 – NEROCA FC 2
NEROCA FC: Felix Chidi (28′, 74′)
A brace by Felix Chidi helped NEROCA FC overcome Real Kashmir FC at the at the TRC Turf Stadium in Srinagar.
The hosts had chances to take the lead early on. In the fifth minute, a shot by Danish Farooq from the right was saved by NEROCA’s Italian goalie Mauro Boerchio, while a Krizo header hit the post in the 15th minute.
While the hosts missed their opportunity to score, Ashok Singh fizzed in a cross from the right found an unmarked Chidi in the Real Kashmir box. The Nigerian slid in to give NEROCA the lead in the 28th minute.
The second half saw Real Kashmir on the front foot, coming close to scoring in the 63rd minute. A shot from the left flank found Krizo in the NEROCA 6-yard box, the Ivorian’s attempt hit the post before Mauro Boerchio comfortably collected the ball.
Chidi provided the sucker-punch when Krizo capitalized on a defensive lapse by Katebe in the Real Kashmir box. The Nigerian made no mistake in scoring his second goal of the day.
Real Kashmir continued to attack, but their wayward finishing left the Kashmir faithful waiting for their first home win.
Gokulam score three past Shillong Lajong
FULL-TIME: Gokulam FC 3 – Shillong Lajong FC 1
GOKULAM FC: Gani Nigam (43′), Antonio German (56′), Rajesh (66′); SHILLONG LAJONG FC: Phrangki Buam (78′)
Gokulam Kerala FC proved too strong for the young Shillong Lajong team as they won their third home game 3-1 at Kozhikode.
Gani Nigam (43rd minute), Antonio German (56th) and Rajesh S (66th) scored for Gokulam while Phrangki Buam (78th) was the lone scorer for Shillong Lajong FC.
A foul by Novin Gurung on Gokulam Kerala midfielder Castro gave the home side a dead ball situation. Castro’s free-kick was flicked on and passed to an unmarked Gani Ahmed in the Lajong box. The defender slammed the ball into the roof of the net to give the home side a deserved lead.
The young boys of Shillong pressed on for the equalizer, but their hopes were deflated in the 56th minute when an Antonio German shot was deflected off a Lajong player and into the net. The host added a third 10 minutes later when a cross from Gani Ahmed was met by a flying Rajesh to put the game beyond doubt.
Lajong pulled one goal back courtesy a clever run by Sheen Sohktung who put Phrangki Buam through on goal. The teenager placed the ball beyond the reach of Shibinraj in the 78th minute.
A few minutes later, Rakesh Pradhan delivered a fine ball across the Gokulam penalty area, however, Sheen could not keep his control the ball on the bounce in front of an open goal. The hosts breathed a sigh of relief and went on to collect all three points.
Chennai City pull off an upset to go top of the table
FULL-TIME: East Bengal FC 1 – Chennai City FC 2
EAST BENGAL FC: Enrique Esqueda (52′); CHENNAI CITY FC: Sandro Rodriguez (45′), Nestor Gordillo (87′[P])
Chennai City FC consolidated their position at the top of the table with a stunning 2-1 victory over East Bengal at Kolkata’s Yuba Bharati Krirangan stadium.
The Chennai team sat deep in the opening stages of the first half before imposing themselves in the game. Chennai’s Spanish trio of Nestor, Sandro and Manzi combined well to fashion opportunities for the visitors.
Right before the halftime whistle, Chennai City took the lead. A late challenge on Sandro by Lalrindika Ralte gave Chennai a free kick just outside the box on the right. Sandro dusted himself off and expertly placed the ball away from Rakshit Dagar’s outstretched right hand.
East Bengal began the second half with urgency and was rewarded. Jobby Justin put Surabuddin through on the right and his cross from inside the box beat the Chennai defence and defense striker Enrique Esqueda slotted home.
Chennai’s Manzi had to leave the field in the 56th minute because of injury but it had no effect on Nestor and Sandro, the former having a brilliant match.
Nestor won it for Chennai in the dying minutes of the game. A pass from Raju put through Romario Jesuraj who had ghosted behind the East Bengal backline.
Dagar rushed out and clipped the heels of the midfielder, giving the referee an easy decision to point to the penalty spot. Nestor stepped up to calmly slotted the ball and send Chennai four points clear at the top.