Kalyani (West Bengal), Jan 15 (IANS) Imphal’s local rivals, North Eastern Re-Organising Cultural Association (NEROCA) FC and Tiddim Road Athletic Union (TRAU) FC, played out a 1-1 draw in the I-League at the Kalyani Municipal Stadium on Friday.
TRAU have recorded two 1-1 draws so far while NEROCA were playing their first match of the season.
Varun Thokchom’s 10th-minute strike was cancelled out by Joseph Olaleye’s 15th-minute header as both teams shared the spoils of battle in the Imphal derby.
TRAU created the first goal-scoring chance of the match in the sixth minute when Komron Tusirov ran clear of his marking defender onto goal. The Tajik forced the opposition goalkeeper to make a good save from a tight angle.
Four minutes later, NEROCA took the lead with their first shot on target. A defensive lapse from TRAU left a huge gap between the two central defenders and Thokchom ran into the vacant space to receive a cross from the flank. The forward made no mistake and slotted the ball past the goalkeeper to five NEROCA the lead.
However, TRAU took just five minutes to bounce back. Olaleye scored the equaliser with a thunderous header off a Komron Tusirov corner kick.
In the 30th minute, NEROCA’s Songpu Singsit’s shot from outside the box flew narrowly past the goal and seven minutes later Khanngam Horam missed a sitter after he skewed his shot wide with only the goalkeeper to beat.
TRAU came out in the second half with a more positive approach than what they showed towards the latter stages of the first. Olaleye had an opportunity to get TRAU the lead but his effort from close range was saved heroically by the NEROCA goalkeeper Bishorjit Singh Loitongbam.
The tempo in the second half after that chance for Olaleye, dropped significantly as both teams played cautiously. TRAU, with more shots on goal, tried to breach the NEROCA defence but were held at bay.