I-League 2017: NEROCA FC vs Kingfisher East Bengal, Talking Points
I-League newcomers from Manipur, NEROCA FC hosted East Bengal on a Saturday afternoon in Imphal at the Khuman Lampak Main Stadium.
The two sides in the top half of the table clashed in the Northeast state with NEROCA FC having a chance to join East Bengal and Minerva Punjab at the top of the table. Before the match, NEROCA were tied on points (10) with Mohun Bagan and Shillong Lajong, whereas East Bengal stood top of the table with 13 points along with Minerva Punjab, but ahead on goal difference.
The match ended in a 1-1 draw after NEROCA managed to draw level in the end with a late strike from Nedo Turkovic, that snatched the points from Khalid Jamil's side. East Bengal had taken the lead with Katsumi Yusa's goal in the first half but NEROCA held on and stayed unbeaten at their home.
East Bengal maintain their position at the top of the table with 14 points from 7 matches, whereas NEROCA FC continue their dream debut season and now have a tally of 11 points from 6 matches and stay in the third spot.
Katsumi Yusa draws the first blood
East Bengal's star midfielder Katsumi Yusa broke the deadlock in the 13th minute putting Khalid Jamil's side in the lead. The Red and Golds had played a high-pressure game from the get-go and were rewarded with a good counter-attacking move.
Mahmoud Al-Amna, East Bengal's Syrian medio, broke through on the right wing after a NEROCA corner and played Willis Plaza through into the box. The East Bengal forward squared the ball in after rushing inside and found the Japanese Yusa free to fire. Yusa made no mistake in beating Lalit Thapa in the NEROCA goal and put the away side in the lead.
East Bengal's tactic of applying pressure on the Imphal side got them the dividends and set them on course in the game.