I-League: NEROCA Finish Runners Up

Thursday, 8 March 2018|Abhishek Mukherjee
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Neroca FC finished runners-up in the 2017-18 edition of the I-League courtesy of a 1-1 draw with Kolkata giants East Bengal at the Salt Lake Stadium, Kolkata on Thursday(8th March 2018).

Felix Chidi opened the scoring for the orange brigade in the 42nd minute, before veteran striker Dudu Omagbemi(74') cancelled it out. 

With the situation being a do-or-die one, both teams had no other option but to play attacking football. It was, however, the home side who took control of proceedings after an uneventful first quarter. 

It is often said that stats can be deceiving in football. East Bengal managed to register as many as seven shots on target in the first half, compared to just a solitary one in favour of Neroca- which resulted in a goal. 

East Bengal could have taken a three-goal lead in the first half but with Al Amna, Dudu and Jobby Justin missing easy chances, it wasn't to be. On the other hand, it was Felix Chidi of Neroca, who showed nerves of steel in the 42nd minute when he beat the offside trap before outfoxing Arnab and placing the ball into the back of the net. 

At halftime the scoreline read 0-1 in favour of Neroca. 

Upon resumption, East Bengal piled on the pressure on the Manipuri outfit but failed to create openings. Their persistent pressure eventually paid dividends in the 74th minute when Dudu equalised through a header-his 7th goal in last three outings. 

However, none of the teams was able to break the deadlock as the match finished 1-1, meaning that Neroca finished the season at the second spot- just 3 points behind Champions Minerva Punjab.