Neroca extended their unbeaten streak to five matches following the 2-1 triumph over Mohun Bagan at the Khuman Lampak stadium in Imphal on Friday.
The victory – Neroca’s fourth in five matches – took them to second in the points standings above Real Kashmir and East Bengal, who face each other later in the day. Bagan remained on fifth with 15 points from 10 matches. From the same number of games, Neroca has 18.
Bagan started well but it was Neroca, who broke the deadlock in the 24th minute after former Bagan captain Katsumi Yusa found Ferreira at the far post from his side’s first corner. The Brazilian had little difficulty in nodding the ball into the net from a little far.
The game remained 1-0 at half-time with Bagan failing to breach the home defence despite dominating the proceedings. They started the second-half well with full-backs joining in attacks to push Neroca on the backfoot.
Darren Caldeira, who started for the first time this season, sent an innocuous cross into the Neroca box but a goalkeeping blunder from Lalit Thapa allowed Kisekka to nod the ball home and level the scores for Bagan.
Their joy, however, lasted just six minutes until Aryn Williams’ spark of alert amidst chaos in the box helped Neroca restore the one-goal lead. Yusa’s corner was only cleared with a feeble punch from Bagan custodian Sankar Roy and the ball fell for Subhash Singh, who mishit was redirected into the net by the Australian midfielder.
Nreoca defended deep for the rest of the game thwarting any Bagan attacks that hit their line. While the visitors missed quite a number of glaring opportunities, Neroca – playing on the counter – in the final half hour had few tough chances to kill off the game highlighting the defensive fragilities in the Bagan backline.