Tiddim Road Athletic Union registered a comfortable 2-0 victory over All India Football Federation’s (AIFF) developmental side Indian Arrows at the Tilak Maidan in Goa on Sunday, January 12. Naocha Singh scored in the 44th minute to open the scoreline before Princewill Emeka doubled the visitor’s advantage in the 79th minute. (More Football News)
Arrows head-coach Shanmugam Venkatesh made a couple of changes to his previous line-up, with Aman Chetri replacing Harpreet Singh and Harmanpreet Singh taking Manvir Singh’s place up front, signalling a switch to 3-4-3.
Dimitris Dimitriou made a solitary change, seemingly happy with his newfound cohesion in his side. Sandeep Singh was named to start at the back, at the expense of Deepak Devrani.
Fresh from their victory in the Imphal derby, it was TRAU who started pressing hard from the get-go, piling on the pressure and not allowing Indian Arrows to retain possession for long.
In the 5th minute of the game, Princewill Emeka received the ball on the edge of the box, and what didn’t seem like a goal-scoring pass initially, was converted into one by the skipper with a beautiful turn, that completely took his marker Bikash Yumnam out of the equation and with only the keeper to beat, TRAU were denied by a smart save from Lalbiakhlua Jongte in the Arrows goal.
TRAU kept pressing hard and forcing errors out of the hosts when they were in possession. Emeka remained a constant threat, running circles around the Arrows defence and in the 12th minute, forced Bikash Yumnam into losing possession to him inside the box, which allowed him a crack on goal, but the number ten fired straight at Jongte.
Arrows made a total hash of possession yet again, playing with fire inside the box. It was Krishnananda Singh, in the 18th minute, when he dispossessed Akash Mishra on the edge of the six-yard box and fed the ball to Emeka with a back-flick. The Nigerian forward did well to get his shot away on the turn, and with his effort destined for the back of the net, was kept out by yet another fabulous save from Jongte.
TRAU’s persistence paid off its due dividends going into the break. In the 44th minute, Wahengbam Luwang’s corner was met by Naocha Singh inside the box, and with a flurry of blue and white shirts in the box, got just the right touch to take it past the keeper to give the visitors a well-deserved lead at half-time.
Dimitris Dimitriou’s men came out all guns blazing in the second half, picking up the same tempo which they had left off in. Arrows skipper Vikram Partap Singh, who had enjoyed a startling start to the season, found himself isolated for large parts, not seeing enough of the ball to spark a catalyst for the comeback.
In the 64th minute, a throw-in from Abhishek Das into the box was well-received by Emeka and with the angle not in his favour, he tried an audacious chip over the keeper but Jongte was alert to the danger and picked up the bones.
TRAU doubled their lead in the 79th minute, when a beautifully weighted pass by Phalguni Singh was well received by Emeka on the turn and with a delicate first touch, took it beyond his marker and placed it home through the legs of Jongte to wheel away in celebration and rubberstamp the three points for his side.
The referee blew for full-time to bring to an end, while the Imphal-based outfit walked away with three points in the bag, courtesy of a thoroughly professional display.
Indian Arrows remain rooted to the bottom of the Hero I-League standings, while TRAU climb to sixth in the table, with eight points to their good.
TRAU skipper Princewill Emeka was adjudged to be the Hero of the Match.