Hello and welcome to Sportstar‘s live coverage of the I-League 2019-20 match between NEROCA FC and Mohun Bagan AC at the Khuman Lampak Main Stadium in Imphal.
This is Santadeep Dey, and I will be bringing you all the action as it unfurls at the stadium.
73′ Straight to Phillip! Sk. Sahil plays it on to Tursonov, who passes the ball to Ashutosh. Ashutosh sends in a scorching left-footer but finds the Neroca goalie.
70′ Tursonov spreads the game to the left for Papa, but the latter has been ruled offside; this is the first offside ruling of the match.
68′ Sankar Roy rushes out of his line to deny Neroca again. Mohun Bagan, meanwhile, continues to try and take the pace off the game, employing short passes.
65′ Cyrus has been brought down. He is struggling after pulling off a challenge on Pritam. He has been carried off the field. Tajikistan’s Tursunov to take his place.
63′ Pritam fumbles again! This time, within the box. Dhanachandra was quick to push him off.
61′ Top defending show from Morante. A forward ball from Pritam to Diarra, dangerously close to the goal, but Morante intervenes right at the nick of time.
59′ Pritam falters again, as we arrive close to the hour-mark! What is wrong? He charges down the wings to hand it straight to Sankar again. This might not go down well with gaffer Gift Raikhan.
56′ Neroca playing with a high backline hoping to push forward when the right opportunity arrives. This step could have been taken much earlier though.
53′ GOAL! Just what MB was searching for… The young Naorem creates an opportunity again, dribbling in from the left wing. The cross finds an unmarked Papa in the box and bam! A beautiful header sees MB extend its lead.
52′ Sankar yet to be tested in the game today. Neroca has been all the more defensive since the start of the second half.
50′ Mohun Bagan searching for an insurance goal from the very first second of the second half. A stunning volley, courtesy Papa, has been saved by Phillip again.
46′ Imran Khan’s challenge hands another freekick to Mohun Bagan. Ashutosh to take the shot. Cleared again!
45+2′ The first half comes to an end with the visitor leading by a goal. MB created numerous chances in the first half and the scoreline could have been 4-0 by now, if not for some valiant saves pulled off by skipper-keeper Marvin Phillip.
45′ There will be an added time of two minutes.
43′ A delightful pass from Joseba Beitia was handled by Metai inside the 18-yard area. The referee books him and awards a freekick to Mohun Bagan from a very advantageous position. Papa takes a wonderful freekick but Phillip does it again! What a save! It is him vs Mohun Bagan at the moment!
39′ Three shots on target so far by Mohun Bagan while Neroca just had the one shot on goal, thus far.
38′ Morante has been brought down by Pritam. Freekick awarded to Mohun Bagan.
36′ Neroca showing all sorts of urgency. Dhananjoy Singh rushes up the right flank but Dhanachandra comes to the rescue. Cleared!
32′ Another wasted opportunity for Neroca! This is just not done. Zodingliana Ralte, who specialises in scoring from freekicks, sends in a curler from a setpiece. With an open goal staring him in the eye, Boubacar Diarra fails to get it in at the far post.
25′ PIN DROP SILENCE IN THE GROUND! The visitor has taken the lead. And it is Nongdamba Naorem yet again! What a signing he has been for the Mariners, this season! Dhanachandra sets Naorem up beautifully with another lob. The ball takes a deflection off a Nerocan defender and Naorem calmly slots it home.
23′ Another chance! Gonzalez sends in a long ball for VP Suhair who launches a shot on target. Phillip makes a diving save. The danger isn’t over as Papa goes for an acrobatic attempt. It flies wide! Point to be noted, Phillip is the one who has had the most saves this I-League season: 35.
22′ Paaaapaaaaa! A backheel from Naorem inside the box meets Dhanachandra who sent in a measured lob to Papa. He jumps up to meet it with a header but it is nowhere near the target.
18′ Pritam Singh on the counter! He dashes in from the right. But what was that? A disappointing shot straight into the hands of Sankar. Will Neroca go on to rue the missed opportunity in the upcoming minutes?
17′ Beitia, MB’s setpiece specialist, swings in a low one from the corner. Headed away by Neroca’s defence to safety.
15′ Neroca slowly coming into the game as its possession climbs up to 54%.
12′ Hangal launches a fierce shot, which takes a deflection off Morante to roll over the touch line.
7′ Ashutosh’s cross floats in to meet Papa who flicks it just off the target. The players asking some questions of the ‘keepers early on in the game.
6′ Siam Hangal wins a freekick in what maybe Neroca’s first opportunity at goal. Swings wide!
5′ Yellow Card to Ashutosh Mehta after he pulls off an ugly challenge on Pritam.
2′ Mohun Bagan looking good here. Marvin Phillip intervenes to ward off Papa’s header off Dhanachandra .
1′ Mohun Bagan wins an early corner and Neroca’s defence does a good job of clearing Beitia’s ball.
KICKOFF: There’s the whistle and we are underway. Will the Mariners be able to consolidate their spot at the top?
The players are out in the middle. We are minutes away from live action now…
NEROCA FC: Marvin Phillip (GK/C), Dhananjoy Singh, Taryk Sampson, Roshan Singh, Zodingliana Ralte, Siam Hanghal, Boubacar Diarra, Varun Thokchom, Imran Khan, Ronald Singh, Ningthoujam Singh
Mohun Bagan AC: Sankar Roy (GK), Fran Morante, Papa Diawara, Ashutosh Mehta, S. Vadakkepeedika, Dhanachandra Singh (C), Daneil Cyrus, Nongdamba Naorem, Fran Gonzalez, Joseba Beitia, SK. Sahil
A win in its previous outing boosting its confidence, Neroca FC will host leader Mohun Bagan in a tricky I-League match today.
Despite its initial struggle, there has been a sense of calm in the Orange Brigade with over half the season still left to play. The home side will be walking into the match with a huge boost in morale following its home victory against Real Kashmir, which saw it climb up the table to sixth place.
Mohun Bagan, on the other hand, is sitting comfortably on top of the table while also coming into the match after its 2-1 Kolkata derby win against arch rival East Bengal.
A win for Neroca would see it break into the top three, which would be an outstanding turnaround given that the Imphal-based outfit was in the dreaded relegation spot at the turn of the year.
Head coach Gift Raikhan said ahead of the game, “The match will be very difficult for Neroca. They (Mohun Bagan) have not lost in a while now. They are strong, experience-wise. Their marquee players are very good and their Indian players are very talented.”
“We have been inconsistent due to our lack of experience, but my team will improve with each passing day. As a team, we are going to fight until the end. The result will be there for everyone to see after the final whistle.”
Mohun Bagan is now unbeaten in six games and is now three points clear of second-placed Punjab FC with a game in hand.
“The derby is behind us now. We are very happy with the result and the three points but we have been thinking about tomorrow’s game ever since Monday. We know that it is going to be very difficult,” Mohun Bagan head coach Kibu Vicuna said.
Neroca defender Taryk Samson will be up against Nongdamba Naorem on the left, who has been nothing short of phenomenal this season, while the likes of Chanso Horam, Siam Hanghal and Zodingliana Ralte will be in the middle of the park against Bagan’s Spanish contingent of Joseba Beitia and Fran Gonzales.
Possible Playing XI:
NEROCA FC: Marvin Phillip (GK), Moirangthem Singh, Taryk Sampson, Ousmane Diawara, Zodingliana Ralte, Boubacar Diarra, Gaty Koumani, Sushil Meitei, Chanso Horam, Ronald Singh, Khaimingtham Lhungdim
Mohun Bagan AC: Sankar Roy (GK), Fran Morante, Daneil Cyrus, Ashutosh Mehta, Dhanachandra Singh, Britto PM, Nongdamba Naorem, Fran Gonzalez, Baba Diawara, Suhair VP, Joseba Beitia
When and where to watch?
Scheduled to begin at 2PM IST, the NEROCA vs Mohun Bagan match will be telecast live on DSport and an online streaming option would be available on JioTV. You can also follow the live commentary on https://sportstar.thehindu.com/