North Eastern Re-Organising Cultural Association (NEROCA) Football Club gave themselves a fighting chance in the race to finish in the top 6 of the I-League by beating Sudeva Delhi 2-0 at the Kishore Bharati Krirangan on Friday. Goals by Judah Garcia and substitute Songpu Singsit ensured a victory for Gift Raikhan’s side in a hard-fought game against the league newcomers.
A top-6 finish will ensure that they don’t get embroiled in a relegation battle.
NEROCA had the first sight of goal in the seventh minute, as Judah Garcia dispossessed Naorem Tondomba and his long-distance attempt hit the side-netting of Rakshit Dagar’s goal. at the other end, Sudeva’s Naorem Mahesh threaded a through pass for Shubho Paul, but NEROCA goalkeeper Bishorjit Singh came off his line to collect it.
NEROCA went ahead in the 45th minute after a move that started with them taking a quick free-kick inside their own half. Judah Garcia got at the end of Khaiminthang Lhungdim’s cross on the quick break and the Trinidadian powered his header past Dagar.
Dagar saved Sudeva from falling further behind in the 53rd minute, showing quick reflexes to deny Garcia after the goalscorer had dispossessed Gursimrat Gill in the penalty area. Meanwhile, Sudeva kept attacking and came close to the equaliser twice in the 57th minute.
With Sudeva overcommitting in the attack, NEROCA broke on the counter and Prakash Budhathoki stuck the crossbar after some good work by Judah Garcia. NEROCA finally found their second goal in the 72nd minute when Songpu Singsit beat his defender and curled his shot past Rakshit Dagar from just inside the area.