Katsumi Yusa scored a brace as Neroca ended Churchill Brothers’ unbeaten run of eight games with a 2-1 victory at the Khuman Lampak Stadium in Manipur on Saturday.
Former East Bengal midfielder Yusa scored one each on either side of the whistle while Khalid Aucho netted the equaliser for the visitors. The win also helped Neroca leapfrog Churchill to second in the point standings with 14 points from eight matches, Churchill are rung below both on points and place.
Neroca were off to a perfect start when Yusa scored with a diving header just 15 seconds after the opening whistle.
They have could have added a second eight minutes later but Felix Chidi failed to make contact to a cross from Malemnganba Meitei, while Subash Singh’s attempt was kept out by goalkeeper James Kithan.
Churchill – who spent most of the first half chasing the ball – was disappointing throughout the opening half and their only chance resulted in the equaliser. A Dawda Ceesay cross from the right was headed into goal by Aucho.
The home side started just as they had when the opening whistle went off and again could have scored in the opening few minutes but Aryn Williams headed wide a cross from Meitei. Anthony Wolfe also tested Lalit Thapa from a Willis Plaza pass for Churchill.
But Neroca maintained their strong-hold on the match and was unfortunate to not go ahead in the 77th minute with Subash Singh’s powerful left-footer coming off the upright after Yusa found him free on the left side of the box.
Despite Neroca’s relentless attacks on goal, they failed to find the net, the match seemed to be heading towards a 1-1 draw until Yusa once again rescued his side. Williams’ perfect cross was nodded into the net by the Japanese securing the victory for his side.