Football

I-League: NEROCA Dent Sreenidi Deccan's Title Hopes, Mohammedan Sporting Need A Draw

Waikhom Rohit Meetei scored in the 70th minute for NEROCA FC off a penalty, while David Castaneda Munoz drew parity in the 82nd minute after Sreenidi were also awarded a penalty

NEROCA FC
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Sreenidi Deccan FC's slender hopes of winning the I-league title suffered another setback when they were held to a 1-1 draw by NEROCA FC in Shilong on Thursday.

The draw meant that Mohammedan Sporting need just a draw against Shillong Lajong FC in their penultimate match here on Saturday to become the I-League champions and get a promotion to the Indian Super League.

Waikhom Rohit Meetei scored in the 70th minute for NEROCA FC off a penalty, while David Castaneda Munoz drew parity in the 82nd minute after Sreenidi were also awarded a penalty.

Following the draw at the SSA Stadium, Sreenidi are on 44 points and trail leaders Mohammedan Sporting by five points.

Mohammedan Sporting need just a point from their remaining two games to lift the trophy, while Sreenidi would not just have to win their fixtures but also hope Mohammedan lose both their remaining games.

Down to 10 men in the first half, NEROCA took a shock second-half lead and then defended valiantly to hold Sreenidi.

Both sides were denied by the woodwork in the first half. The best chance of the half though fell to Sreenidi's William de Oliveira, who had scored a brace in his previous start.

The Brazilian had only the goalkeeper to beat after getting a through ball from inside the box but he blazed it high.

Despite Sreenidi overwhelming the hosts with their attacking game, NEROCA did well to create openings at the break. A flurry of chances opened up for both teams as the half came to a close.

The game settled into a pattern in the second half, with Sreenidi dominating possession but NEROCA's low block defence restricted any chances in the final third.

The game turned on its head in the 70th minute when Jagdeep Singh fouled Lourembam David Singh inside the box. NEROCA, who were reduced to 10 men earlier, took the lead when Meetei slotted home the penalty.

With Sreenidi's title hopes dimming, Carlos Vaz Pinto threw on all his attackers in the search for a goal.

In the 81st, substitute Castaneda was fouled inside the box by Bodo and the striker put away the subsequent spot kick to draw Sreenidi level.

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