A clinical attacking display helped Chennai City FC get three points against a ten-man North Eastern Re-Organising Cultural Association (NEROCA) Football Club at the Salt Lake Stadium on Tuesday. Strikes by Vineeth Kumar and Demir Avdic were enough to hand Chennai a 2-1 win with Subash Singh halving the deficit for NEROCA in the 79th minute.
With this win, Chennai City FC find themselves in the top half of the table while NEROCA remain tenth.
Chennai wasted no time in showing their attacking intent. Vladimir Molerovic took a shot at goal in the fourth minute itself which went above the bar by just a few inches. However, they only had to wait two more minutes to take the lead. Vineeth Kumar was found by an accurate cross by Mohamed Iqbal from the left flank on the far post. Kumar put the ball into the back of the net with a diving header and Chennai took a 1-0 lead.
Chennai kept attacking with NEROCA goalkeeper Bishrojit Singh having to make multiple saves in the minutes after conceding. However, NEROCA eventually regrouped and started pressing higher up the pitch. Subash Singh tried to dribble his way past the Chennai defence, but failed to release a powerful shot in the 15th minute.
NEROCA survived a scare on the 18th minute when defender Manjit Sharma’s loose pass for Bishrojit was almost latched upon by a lurking Demir Avdic. If Avdic had stolen possession, it would have been a simple goal for Chennai.
With Chennai City FC having the lion’s share of possession and creating chances at will, NEROCA relied on counter-attacks to test the opposition. Subash Singh Singham scuffed his shot from range in the 33rd minute and substitute Khaiminthang Lhungdim, shortly after, headed a Gobin Singh cross wide of the goal. The half-time scoreline read 1-0 in Chennai’s favour.
NEROCA did not hold back in the second half and fought for every inch on the field. Although they attacked in droves, the Gift Raikhan-coached side lacked creativity up front with Subash Singh mostly isolated and unable to link play with Judah Garcia. They were dealt a blow when Shoaib Akhtar was shown a red card in the 61st minute for a rash tackle on Jockson Dhas.
Avdic eventually doubled Chennai’s lead in the 68th minute he headed home his effort from close range. NEROCA, however, did not go out without a fight. The Manipur-based club resorted to long balls and smashed them forward in an attempt to find a goal. The breakthrough came in the 79th minute for NEROCA with Subash Singh tucking it in from a rebound.