NEROCA FC beat Kenkre FC 1-0 at Cooperage Stadium in Mumbai on Tuesday to claim their first away win of the season.
Striker Jordan Fletcher early in the second half won all three points for the Orange Brigade, who had 11 shots on goal in the entire match.
Unsurprisingly, Neroka controlled the ball right from the whistle with Uzbek midfielders Sardor Yakhonov and Mirgalul Qasimov in the middle of the field.
The Orange Brigade had their first attempt at goal on seven minutes when youngster Tangva Raji curled a shot from outside the penalty area, which was parried away by goalkeeper Padam Chhetri. This turned out to be the only contribution of the match from Mumbai goalkeeper Kinkree, as he had to be replaced by Tenzin Samdup in the 17th minute due to an unfortunate injury.
The hosts’ solid defense meant Neroka had to resort to long-range attempts to try to break through. One such shot came on the half-hour mark, where Kasimov, who scored a fine volley against Mohammedan Sporting last week, tried his luck from 25 yards but couldn’t get enough bend on the ball as it sailed wide of the post.
Seven minutes later, striker Jordan Fletcher unleashed another long-range right-footed effort, which fell straight into the palm of substitute goalkeeper Samdup.
Mumbai Kinkari’s first-half chance came four minutes before half-time, as some great interaction between Pravetto Raju, Ranjit Pandri and Azfar Noorani saw the hosts enter the visitors’ box before the ball was intercepted by an orange shirt.
At the other end, Fletcher attempted a daring over-the-head effort from 12 yards late in the first half, but was unable to get the required contact as the effort was out of reach.
The second half started in a similar fashion to the first, with Neroca watching a lot of the ball. The Orange Brigade finally broke open a stubborn Kinkrey defense in the 57th minute. Yakhonov slipped a neat pass to Fletcher at the interference and the Jamaican took a touch before carving it into the roof of the net with his left foot.
Neroka maintained their attacking intensity after advancing with Tomio Chimerai stepping up to inject more speed into the wings. The visitors took complete control of their midfield, leaving Mumbai’s Kinker frustrated as they struggled to keep the ball.
However, the Mumbaikars came close to an unexpected equalizer in the 80th minute as defender Kinsilang Khongsit slotted a powerful shot into the box before firing a powerful shot that was saved by goalkeeper Shubham Das.
In the end, NEROCA pulled off a comfortable victory in Mumbai as top scorer Jourdain Fletcher was named hero of the match. The Jamaican has now scored the only goal in Neroka’s win this season (vs Sudiva Delhi and now Mumbai Kincri).
The result saw coach Khogyn Singh’s team rise to seventh place in the standings, with six points. Mumbai Kinkri dropped to 10th place with four points from the same number of matches.
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