I-League 2018-19, Real Kashmir FC 0-2 NEROCA FC: 5 talking points
Real Kashmir FC, the debutant in this season’s I-League, tasted their first defeat of the tournament. They went down to NEROCA FC by a scoreline of 0-2 in their second home match at TRC Ground in Srinagar on Sunday.
After their win in the opening match against Minerva Punjab and draw against Churchill Brothers, Kashmir was looking for a first home win to give the supporters a chance of celebration.
Despite playing better for most of the game, the Snow Leopards had to endure a loss due to their own mistakes.
Winless NEROCA FC were playing their fourth match. They lost at home to East Bengal before two back to back draws against Gokulam Kerala FC and neighbours Aizawl FC. Finally, against Real Kashmir FC, they claimed their first three points of the season.
Kashmir coach David Robertson names an unchanged line-up for the third successive match of this season. But NEROCA FC coach Manuel Retamero opted for a couple of changes. Abdul Salam and Biaklian Paite made way for Naorem Singh and Sushil Meitei.
The match was an exciting affair as both the team had their chances, but it was NEROCA FC who made it count twice, thanks to the heroics of Felix Chidi.
Gnohere Krizo, who scored the only goal in Kashmir’s campaign so far, was not in his usual for today as he missed a few chances which could’ve changed the complexion of the match.
Let us look at the five points of the match:
#5 The outfield is a problem for visiting teams
The TRC Ground in Srinagar in by far the best ground available to Kashmir. They have made more beautification of the ground by installing more seats so that more people can watch them play. The snow-clad mountain behind the ground was also eye-catching.
But there remains a concern with the piece. TRC ground has an astroturf and due to the extreme weather, the grass went missing for most areas of the pitch.
This created problem for the visitors as few of their players couldn’t cope with the pitch and slipped too often. Also, the ball was not moving normally as it is used to.
The home team has been used to playing in this ground. So they are already adapted with it, but NEROCA FC players had to endure tough time in getting used to. They played more aerial balls rather than their usual passing football.
But credit should be given to the energetic crowds who filled the stands. The incessant noise of drums and chants of “Jeetega bhai jeetega, Real Kashmir jeetega’ reverberated in the air and made the occasion more joyful.