THE BLOG BY CPD FOOTBALL | The World of Indian football and beyond by Chris Punnakkattu Daniel

TRAU secure top-six spot after beating Sudeva Delhi in a thrilling contest

TRAU FC players celebrate a goal in the Hero I-League. (Photo courtesy: AIFF Media)
TRAU FC players celebrate a goal in the Hero I-League. (Photo courtesy: AIFF Media)

Tiddim Road Athletic Union edged past Sudeva Delhi FC 3-2, and sealed their spot in the top-six of the Hero I-League at the Kalyani Municipal Stadium in Kalyani on Sunday (28th February 2021). Nandakumar Singh’s side came back twice from a goal down before finding the winner in the 82nd minute.

The game started off brightly as Sudeva churned their first opening within the first five minutes of the game, as Lunkim Khongsai’s long-ranger whizzed over the goal. At the other end, Komron Tursunov won the ball off Maichael Singh, but the Tajik international’s low drive was easily saved by Sudeva keeper Sachin Jha on the 6th minute.

In what was an end-to-end start, the best chance of the opening exchanges fell to TRAU in the 9th minute as Bidyashagar Singh latched on to Shaabhaaz’s pass from the wing, only to see his shot from inside the box saved by Sachin Jha. TRAU seemed to be the better attacking side, but it was Sudeva who took the shock lead in the 17th minute.

William Pauliankhum cut in from the right flank before sending a curling shot into the left bottom corner from just inside the area, shocking TRAU keeper Soram Poirei and his defence. TRAU showed urgency and came close with Tursunov on the 25th minute. However, the striker failed to hit the target with his effort.

TRAU kept pushing, and they found their equaliser on the 36th minute when Bidyashagar Singh tapped in Joseph Olaleye’s cross from the right into an empty net. Riding on the confidence from the goal, Bidyashagar Singh took the matter into his own hands. But his shot from just outside the area went inches wide from giving TRAU the lead in the 38th minute.

Sudeva took the leaf for a second time on the 41st minute. TRAU failed to clear their lines as Abhishek Ambekar’s cross fetched a weak clearance from Dinesh Singh. The ball fell perfectly in the path of Shubho Paul, the youngest player on the pitch, slotted it past Soram Poirei. Sudeva lead TRAU at half time 2-1.

Sudeva had a golden chance to seal the game in the 50th minute, but William Pauliankhum hit his strike on the wrong side of the goal after Mahesh Singh’s darting run. TRAU broke on the counter on the other end with Bidyashagar Singh, but his strike from inside the area was brilliantly tipped over by the youngster Sachin Jha.

TRAU continued to attack and levelled the scores for the second time as Phalguni Singh headed Shahbaaz’s delightful cross past Sachin Jha in the Sudeva goal. Spurred by the goal, TRAU came with a surge of attacks in the next ten minutes, lead by their Tajik forward Tursunov.

Tursunov came close to give his side the lead on two occasions. However, he was denied on both occasions by the frame of the goal. First, his curling shot from just outside the area hit the top of the crossbar, before going out of the play in the 64th minute. Five minutes later, Tursunov’s attempt crashed into the Sudeva framework from a freekick just outside the area.

The game died down for a bit, as both teams entered the middle of the second half, which was dominated by substitutions and a few stoppages. However, the Red Pythons kept pushing and Joseph Olaleye won them the match on the 82nd minute after Sachin Jha spilt Tursunov’s shot from close range.

Sudeva had a sighter in the 3rd minute of added time, but Manvir Singh’s overhead kick did not have the power to beat Soram Poirei. TRAU then ran down the clock and secured a vital victory which not only secured a top-six spot for them, but also kept them within three points off the top of the table for now.

(AIFF Media)