Neroca FC kickstarted its home campaign with a thrilling 2-1 victory over Chennai City FC in what was a perfect team effort. Lalit Thapa’s heroics under the woodwork, Varney Kallon’s opener in the 26th minute and Ngangom Ronald Singh’s 90th-minute winner perfectly summed up the Manipuri outfit’s performance on Thursday as it outsmarted Chennai City FC at the Khuman Lampak Stadium in Manipur.
Although the visitor pulled one back in the second half, it could not deter the host from bagging all three points towards the end when Ronald Singh tapped it home to send the 27,000 strong crowd into wild celebrations.
Both teams started the match with a high tempo as Chennai City FC gave its best amidst the huge crowds cheering for the home team.
The visitor got a realistic chance to go break the deadlock in the 17th minute when it was awarded a penalty for a foul on Murilo Ribeiro De. However, Neroca FC’s goalkeeper Lalit Thapa jumped to his right to thwart Murilo Almeida’s effort.
The host started to construct attacks mostly from the left flank with striker Subash Singh keeping the Chennai City FC defenders on their toes throughout.
In the 24th minute, Neroca FC broke the deadlock through Varney Kallon. The home team went into the half-time break with a 1-0 lead.
In the second half Chennai City FC changed gears and started pushing harder for the elusive equaliser with captain Soosai Raj pulling strings from midfield.
Jean Micheal Joachim, the deadly Chennai City FC striker, restored parity in the 64th minute. Towards the end when the Chennai City FC dugout started eyeing a hard-fought draw, super-sub Ronald Singh stole the show with a winner in added time.
With this win, Neroca FC climbs to fourth spot with six points from three matches while Chennai City FC remains in ninth with one point it collected from Kozhikode.
Neroca FC will travel to Kolkata next to take on Mohun Bagan on December 19, while Chennai City FC will travel to Goa to challenge Churchill Brothers FC Goa on the same day.