Kalyani, Jan 20 (IANS) The North Eastern Re-Organising Cultural Association (NEROCA) FC thrashed the Indian Arrows, a developmental team of the All India Football Federation (AIFF), 4-0 for their first win of the I-League at the Kalyani Municipal Stadium here on Wednesday.
A brace by Judah Garcia and a goal apiece by Varney Kallon and Khaiminthang Lhungdim proved enough for NEROCA FC to sink the Indian Arrows.
It was one-way traffic in the first half as NEROCA FC seldom sat back in defence, playing attacking football and committing bodies to put pressure on the young Arrows. In the sixth minute, Khangam Horam missed a sitter for NEROCA when his shot from inside the box went inches over the bar, with only the opposition goalkeeper to beat. Five minutes later, Judah Garcia’s shot from a tight angle flew whiskers wide from the goal.
The first clear chance for the Indian Arrows came in the 17th minute when Harsh Patre’s free kick from the edge of the box was heroically saved by Bishorjit Singh. But despite the Arrows’ valiant efforts to grab an early lead, the young side conceded two goals in quick succession as the complexion of the match changed.
First, Judah Garcia’s strike from distance stunned the Arrows’ goalkeeper and caught him off guard, as the ball crept in from his near post to hand NEROCA the lead on the 27th minute. Then, on the 30th minute, Varney Kallon slotted his effort into the back of the net to double the Manipur outfit’s lead, striking a killer blow to the momentum brewed by Arrows minutes before.
Despite that the Indian Arrows showed their fighting spirit and tried to restrict play in NEROCA’s half. However valiant their efforts were, the Arrows were kept at bay easily as they went into the half-time two goals behind their opponents.
It was much the same in the second half. In the 55th minute, NEROCA could have gone 3-0 up had Judah Garcia found the net from inside the box after he was found by a clever cross from the wing. A minute later, Gurkirat Singh earned a free-kick for the Indian Arrows from 30 yards out. Lalchannhima Sailo’s free-kick was headed by Vanlalruatfela Thlacheu and the forward’s header went inches past the goal as NEROCA survived a scare.
Down but not out, the Indian Arrows kept pushing and fighting to salvage at least a point from the match. In the 61st minute, the Arrows were given a golden opportunity to reduce their deficit after Vanlalruatfela was found inside the box by a low cross. The forward tried to turn his marker and finesse the ball into the top corner but dragged it wide of goal.
In the 66th minute, much against the run of play, Judah Garcia robbed the Arrows of possession in their defending third and ran onto goal. With only the goalkeeper to beat, Garcia slotted home with ease to hand NEROA a three-goal lead. Khaiminthang Lhungdim found another goal for the Manipur based club on the 72nd minute to make the score-line read 4-0 in favour of NEROCA. The full-time scoreline read the same as NEROCA notched their first win of the Hero I-league season.