Sudeva Delhi FC went head-to-head against bottom-placed Kenkre FC in their final game of Phase One of the I-League. The two sides met for the clash at the Naihati Stadium on Tuesday, April 19.
Both teams have played some decent football that unfortunately ends outside their opposition's box. Debutant Kenkre FC, led by head coach Akhil Kothari, haven't been able to establish themselves in this campaign so far. Winless from the start, the Mumbai-based side have struggled to outscore their opponents despite possessing lethal pace in their counter-attacks.
Meanwhile, Sudeva Delhi FC aren't too different either. Mehrajuddin Wadoo's men had registered just one win before this game and failed to hold onto their lead in certain situations.
Sudeva Delhi FC started the match on the front foot in the very first minute, closing down their opponents' passing lanes and stretching them using the pace of their wingers. But Kenkre FC weren't sitting back. Kothari's side were the first to get a corner off a deflection by one of their opposition defenders.
After a series of corners of which none came out as a bright opportunity for the Mumbai-based side, they were almost gifted with an opportunity. A lapse in concentration by one of the Sudeva Delhi FC defenders allowed Siddharth Colaco a one-on-one chance with Sachina Jha. But Colaco blasted it high and wide.
Wadoo's side scored a goal as early as the 13th minute. The danger wasn't dealt with properly by the Kenkre FC defenders and the ball fell to Subho Paul, who placed his shot towards the right-side of the goalkeeper. The goal was recorded as an own goal for B. Nongkhlow as it took a deflection before finding the net.
Since the goal, the Delhi-based outfit maintained a high tempo in pursuit of a second goal that would have guaranteed a win in this fixture.
Sudeva Delhi FC and Kenkre FC wrapped in an end-to-end battle
Akhil Kothari introduced Aravindraj Rajan in place of Suraj Negi at the start of the second-half.
The second half wasn't too different for Kenkre FC. Kothari's side were lethal on the break but took many touches in the final third. This spoiled their chances of scoring and allowed Sudeva Delhi FC breathing space.
Forward Ranjeet Singh Pandre tried creating chances for his team by dropping into midfield and progressing possession to the flanks. But Nishchal Chandan was on his toes, keeping an eye on the opposition forward and making sure no harm was done to their lead.
Sudeva Delhi FC midfielder William Pauliankhum, who was awarded the 'Man of the Match', was solid in the center of the park and was influential in the build-up phase for Wadoo's side.
Both teams displayed pace on the flanks but Sudeva Delhi FC were comparatively more decisive in possession and that gave them the edge in this encounter. Sudeva's striker Abhijit Sarkar could have added at least one more goal had he been a little more composed in front of goal. The forward was lethal with his sudden burst of pace but lacked in the finishing department.
Kenkre FC failed to register a win in yet another I-League fixture in their debut campaign, allowing Sudeva Delhi FC some pride after this meeting.