Shillong (Meghalaya) [India], December 23 (ANI): In the battle-of-nerves between two Northeastern teams, finally saw the Manipuri one edging past the counterpart 1-0 in the second Northeastern Derby of the Hero I-League.
The first half of the game was filled with a lot of action. Shillong Lajong, as well as NEROCA FC, played some offensive football in their pursuit of the opening goal. Despite the fact that this is not their home turf, Neroca played with utmost confidence and were as comfortable in their offence as was Lajong.
Lajong, on the other hand, seemed really desperate to score a goal and secure their position in the game. There was a brilliant attempt taken by Aimen Saleh Abdullah AL-Hagri of Lajong but it could not draw any result for the Reds.
Towards the middle of the first half, Lajong looked in a bit of trouble when NEROCA started dominating the game for a short while but then the strong Lajong defence held them at bay.
There were no substitutions in the first half for any of the two teams but there was a yellow card shown to Juho Ho of Lajong in the 40th minute.
Both the teams headed towards the dressing room without any difference between them.
After the resumption, Nedo Turkovic made his debut for the Manipuri outfit, having replaced Israilov Akhlidin. Ex-Mariner Singam Subhash Singh of NEROCA FC came very close to breaching the Lajong defence but eventually, it was averted by the gritty Lajong defence.
Meanwhile, Gift Raikhan had to introduce Thokchom Naoba Singh in the 79th minute to replace Govind Singh Moirangthem who was hurt badly.
Four Minutes later, Singam Subash Singh of NEROCA headed a brilliant cross from Pritam Singh home to leave Lajong Goalie completely stranded.
The poacher was left completely unmarked by the Lajong defenders and the Neroca FC striker encashed on that exquisitely to muster all three points from Shillong.
Following the win, Neroca FC leapfrog Lajong to the third spot of the league table with 10 points from 5 matches whereas the Meghalaya-based side have bagged equal points having played one match extra.
Lajong will now travel to New Delhi to take on young Arrows on the only Boxing Day fixture of the season whereas Neroca FC will host red-hot Kingfisher East Bengal on December 30.(ANI)