Football Hero I-League

TRAU grab maiden victory, Arrows pierce Aizawl’s heart

KOLKATA: After three back-to-back draws, a clinical performance by Tiddim Road Athletic Union (TRAU) saw the Manipur-based club grab their first win of the Hero I-League season after defeating Chennai City FC 2-0 at the VYBK Stadium here on Sunday.

An own goal by Elvedin Skrijeli and a 69th minute Bidyashagar Singh strike handed TRAU a much-deserved win, in a match that was largely dominated by the Nandakumar-coached side.

TRAU certainly did not hold back from the starting minute and adopted a high pressing style, restricting Chennai City FC into their half. The Manipur-based outfit had a spring in their step in attack and maintained pressure on their opponents. On the 20th minute, midfielder Kishan Singh went on a blistering run, slicing through the opposition defence, before releasing a through ball to Kumron Tursunov. The Tajik import was, however, ruled offside.

Chennai City looked to brush things up and made a substitution shortly after when coach Satyasagara opted to replace Hari Krishna for Vladimir Molerovic. It had little effect on TRAU’s momentum. Perhaps the best opportunity of the half fell to Bidyashagar in the 34th minute when he failed to find the net from inside the box, with only the opposition custodian to beat. His shot ricocheted off the opposition custodian and fell to Shahbaz, who shot wide of the target from distance.

Chennai City could have taken the lead, much against the run of play, in the 43rd minute when midfielder Elvedin Skrijelj’s thumping header off a corner kick went inches over the bar. Despite all their possessions and chances, TRAU had little to show for as both teams went into the tunnel without a goal.

The breakthrough came four minutes into the second half for TRAU when forward Joseph Olaleye ran onto the right flank after spinning past his marker. The quick forward unleashed a venomous shot that rattled against the thigh of Elvedin and went into the net to hand TRAU the lead.

Frustration built up for Chennai City FC as chances came rare and all of their attacks were being easily displaced by the TRAU defence. With TRAU’s attacking duo of Olaleye and Bidyashagar giving problems to the Chennai City defence, the Manipur-based club closed in to double their lead. In the 69th minute, a brilliant build-up play between Olaleye and Bidyashagar saw the latter clear onto goal. From close range, Bidyashagar slotted the ball into the left corner.

Chennai City’s captain Charles Anandraj was sent off with a little over a quarter of an hour left, after receiving a second yellow card, to add more to Chennai’s worries. In their earlier games, TRAU had taken the lead but had still failed to get the win. This time was different as the side showed defensive maturity and experience to thwart the opposition attacks.

Arrows pick up 1st point: All India Football Federation’s developmental side, the Indian Arrows held Aizawl FC to a 1-1 draw at the Kalyani Municipal Stadium on Sunday. Richard Kasagga’s 12th-minute strike from close range was cancelled in added time of the second half by virtue of a thumping Sajad Hussain header as both teams shared the spoils.

In the 12th minute, Richard Kasagga was offered a tap-in to put Aizawl FC ahead, and the Ugandan International bundled his opportunity home after a corner kick saw a thumping header come off the woodwork, into Kasagga’s stride. With the early goal, it seemed the play was restricted into the Arrow’s half as Aizawl FC pressed high and overloaded the ball side.

A spurred Indian Arrows took the game to Aizawl FC in the second half, attacking from the whistle and trying to make their way past the opposition defence. However, after a good spell of attacking play, the momentum swung towards Aizawl’s favour once again.

The Indian Arrows were given a corner kick in the dying embers of the second half and on what appeared to be the last roll of the dice, the Indian Arrows found the net. Sajad Hussain’s thumping header off the corner kick left Aizawl FC stunned. (Report & Picture: AIFF Media)