Imphal (Manipur) [India], February 8 (ANI): Tiddim Road Athletic Union lost their unbeaten record at home, after a bitter 1-2 defeat against Sreenidi Deccan in their I-League 2022-23 match at the Khuman Lampak Stadium on Tuesday.
An often tempestuous game was decided basically by goals filled with flair and goal- clearances dripping in courage. On a day where Sreenidi's top scorer David Castaneda had a quiet game, fullback Asheer Akhtar headed the Deccan Warriors into the lead in the first half. That goal came against the run of play, TRAU dominating possession against an uncharacteristically off-colour Sreenidi side.
The first half was a perfect illustration of a fixture on a knife edge, both sides unwilling to commit too much and holding defensively solid lines. The first real chance of the game came at the half-hour mark and fell to the hosts. From a set piece, fullback Yemdremban Naresh Singh received a cross inside the opponent's penalty area. His low shot was cleared away at the goal line by his counterpart Arijit Bagui.
Seven minutes later, it was the visitors on attack and from a corner, the Deccan Warriors broke the deadlock. Faysal Shayesteh whipped in a perfect ball, and Akhtar met it perfectly at the near post, glancing it towards goal. TRAU's Bikash Singh Sagolsem, tried his best to clear the ball, but it had already made its way past the goal line.
TRAU went straight on the attack and almost equalised in the 39th minute. Fernandinho pounced on a weak clearance from the Sreenidi defence and hit the post with a left-footed shot from outside the box. The ball remained in play and found its way to Salam Johnson Singh on the right wing. The winger crossed it for Tursunov but Sreenidi's Mayakkannan last-ditch tackle denied the Tajik a chance to pull the trigger.
The Red Pythons continued their dominance in the second half and came close in the 72nd minute, denied for a second time by a goal-line clearance. Akhtar turned hero, in front of his own goal this time, clearing from a perfect Tursunov header to ensure Sreenidi held the lead.
Sreenidi Deccan, were reliant on individual heroics again, this time by goalkeeper Ubaid diving to his left to save a long-range effort from the substitute Ningthoujam Pritam Singh.
Sreenidi kept firm as a barrage of TRAU attacks hit them through the half. In the final stages, with TRAU desperate, their former player Konsam Phalguni Singh doubled the visitors' advantage, against the run of play. From a counterattack, the midfielder found himself in acres of space just outside the box. He took his time, turning calmly to find the bottom corner.
TRAU hit back almost immediately, Pritam Singh volleying in a brilliant goal from just outside the box, but it was too little too late for the Red Pythons. (ANI)