Chandigarh shares honours with Manipur as match ends 1-1 (Photo courtesy: AIFF Media)
Manipur coach Ratan Elangbam made four changes to the starting XI which went down 0-3 against Bengal on Monday. Manoharmayum Aboy Sharma, Netrajit Singh, L.S Hiisupulu, Thoudam Ngouba Meitei came in place of Ningon Chihang, Tondomba Singh, Oinam Premeshwor Singh, Sushil Kumar Singh.
Sandeep Singh, on the other hand, made just one change in the Chandigarh lineup which suffered a 1-5 defeat against Kerala in their previous match. Pankaj Singh came in place of Deepak Kumar.
Chandigarh were in control of the game right from the word go and dominated possession. Midfielder Barjinderpal Singh came very close to breaking the deadlock as early as in the 9th minute of the match but unfortunately for him, the ball hit the crossbar and came back.
Sandeep Singh’s men commanded the game but failed to make an impact in the attacking third as Manipur scored the opening goal of the match in the 25th minute. Nagamba Naocha received a through ball at the edge of the box and slotted the home comfortably. It was a brilliantly orchestrated counter-attack which caught the Chandigarh defence napping.
Chandigarh came very close to restore parity in the game at the stroke of halftime. Skipper Pawandeep Singh curled a quality free-kick on target but credit to Manipuri custodian Salam Singh who kept the ball out as the Manipur led 1-0 at half-time.
The Northern side began the second half with greater intensity as they looked hungry for an equaliser. They opened the goal mouth on quite a few occasions but as usual, lacked the firepower in the final third.
Finally, in the 65th they found the equaliser thanks to a strike from Vivek Rana. The winger received a low cross from the right flank and easily found the back of the net much to his side’s relief. Thereafter Manipur never showed the intensity to score one more as Chandigarh maintained the pressure but were unable to find the winner.
Manipur and Chandigarh remain at the bottom of Group A after splitting points in this game. Manipur next face Kerala on Friday, March 23 while Chandigarh meet Maharashtra on the same day.