Felix Chidi’s brace today helped NEROCA FC defeat Real Kashmir FC 0-2 at the latter’s den TRC Turf Stadium in Srinagar on Sunday afternoon. NEROCA FC earned their first win of the 12th Edition of the I-League handing Real Kashmir FC their first defeat of the season. Felix Chidi deservingly was also adjudged as the Hero of the Match.
The first half began with visitors NEROCA FC pressing hard, but the game soon shifted gears as the hosts Real Kashmir FC came back with continuous attempts to score. Real Kashmir FC, fondly known as the Snow Leopards, made their intentions extremely clear as they attacked in continuous succession through Krizo and Danish with ample help from the flanks but were unable to find the back of the net even once.
The hosts had their first chance to score early as the 5th minute when a defensive lapse inside the NEROCA half saw Danish Farooq gallop towards the ball making a fine attempt to score but an equally beautiful save by NEROCA’s Italian Goalkeeper Mauro Boerchio denied an early lead for the home team gifting a corner.
The failed corner saw NEROCA launch a counter and they would have even scored but a fine sliding tackle by Ravanan Dharmaraj of Real Kashmir FC inches before the RKFC goal line in the nick of time ensured the scoreboard remained 0-0.
The high tempo of the game from Real Kashmir FC coupled with long balls saw the hosts having many opportunities to score but that lack of a finishing touch was something that haunted them all throughout. The closest that Real Kashmir FC came to scoring was in the 15th minute when a corner kick landed beautifully in front of Krizo for a header that unfortunately hit the inside of the post and moved out to be easily cleared by the NEROCA defenders.
It was till then the hosts looked more threatening and menacing. However, in 28th minute, a fine cross from NEROCA’s Ashok Singh from the left landed right in front of Felix Chidi who made no mistakes in putting his foot forward to help the ball slide into the goal without any worry ensuring that NEROCA FC draw the first blood in the high paced first half of the game.
The game thereafter saw NEROCA FC shifting gears and attempt to score again multiple times but Real Kashmir FC’s defensive wall were efficient enough to deny the chance. The first 45 minutes of the game came to an end with the scoreboard reading 0-1 in favour of NEROCA FC.
The second half began with the Real Kashmir FC again on the attack but NEROCA’s defence line was better positioned this time to deny the hosts any clear chance to score. While the game in the second half saw the snow leopards visibly desperate for a goal with some beautiful passes and crosses but their inability to finish cost them dearly.
In the 63rd minute, Real Kashmir FC made an impressive attempt to score but Krizo’s shot again hit the post to be collected comfortably by Mauro. NEROCA FC doubled their lead in the 74th minute when another defensive lapse by Real Kashmir saw Felix Chidi make no mistakes in earning his second goal of the day.
Real Kashmir FC, who were now in a desperate situation had a brilliant chance in the 88th minute when Danish Farooq missed a sitter and thus the game ended with NEROCA FC earning their first victory in the I-League.
NEROCA FC now with one win, two draws and one loss have five points and is placed fourth while Real Kashmir FC is now placed sixth in the I-League point’s table.