NEROCA FC defeated TRAU FC 2-0 to clinch the Imphal derby at the Kalyani Stadium on Monday. TRAU has not had a memorable season until now, with a draw against Indian Arrows and a 3-1 loss against Sreenidi Deccan before this game. NEROCA FC, on the other hand, has had a very contrasting start to the 2021-22 season with a 3-2 win against Sreenidi Deccan and a draw in 2nd match week against Gokulam Kerala FC.
The Red Pythons started the game on the up and got a free kick in the fifth minute of the game. Fernandinho swung it in from the left side but NEROCA’s defense was strong enough to clear it straight away.
It was end-to-end action at the beginning of the game as NEROCA’s Spanish magician, Juan Mera Gonzalez tried to test the keeper far out of the box in the ninth minute but wasn’t able to cause many problems. Both teams were trying to mark their presence in the game by sticking some passes together but no end product was there to be seen.
Sergio Mendigutxia had a great chance to give TRAU the lead as he beat two defenders with a turn in the 20th minute, only to misplace the shot beyond the goal.
Slowly the momentum of the game started to shift towards NEROCA as the midfielders of the team started to boss proceedings. They were constantly creating chances but, a big opportunity came in the twenty-fourth minute as TRAU’s captain Helder Lobato had to block a good shot from his head.
TRAU quickly tried to hit NEROCA on the break in the next minute but, Shubham Dhas blocked Fernandinho’s shot from close range to keep the scores level.
The first goal of the game came in the thirty-seventh minute of the game as Mohammad Kdouh as he headed a cross from midfielder Sweden Fernandes into the back of the net to give NEROCA the lead. TRAU had a chance to equalize in the fifth minute of the first-half stoppage time as they were given an indirect free-kick but weren’t able to convert.
The half ended with NEROCA holding the edge in a closely fought affair between the two Imphal-based clubs.
The second half kicked off with TRAU desperate to take something out of this game and NEROCA looking for another goal to kill the game off. Douglas Santana had a great chance to equalize for TRAU in the fiftieth minute but the header flew wide.
With TRAU missing chances NEROCA grew into the game and in the seventy-fifth minute of the game, Juan Mera produced a sublime finish into the top corner to double the lead for NEROCA.
TRAU tried many times but it looked like it was just not their day. The game finished with NEROCA clinching the game 2-0 and moving to third place on the table with seven points. Meanwhile, TRAU who’ll take a lot of positives from the game will now have to focus on the fourth game week where they face tough opposition in Churchill Brothers.