Sreenidi Deccan continued her charge to the top of the I-League table with a slim 2-1 victory over the Indian Arrows in Kalyani on Thursday. A goal either side of halftime from Chhangte and David Munoz sealed three points for Deccan, who rose to a worthy challenge from Indian Arrows.
Sreenidi Deccan entered the competition with flying colors, thanks to back-to-back wins in their previous two matches. However, Indian Arrows head coach Shanmugam Venkatesh was also in high spirits ahead of kick-off, insisting his wards were determined to play quality football in order to secure the points in this encounter.
Clean chances were rare throughout this contest as teams battled hard to gain the upper hand in midfield. Indian Arrows were dealt a knock early in the game when midfielder Harsh Patre had to retire with an injury in the 23rd minute. Patre was ably replaced by Lalchhanhima Sailo, as the Indian Arrows remained focused on the task at hand.
As the match reached the half hour mark, Sreenidi Deccan struck first to break the deadlock through right midfielder Vanlalbiaa Chhangte. Defender Awal Mohammed played a long diagonal pass over the Indian Arrows back line, catching the Indian Arrows left-back momentarily out of position in the process. Chhangte controlled the ball expertly and had plenty of time to prepare and choose his spot, as he made no mistake with his arrival near the post past Arrows keeper Zahid Bukhari.
Sreenidi Deccan could have doubled their lead in added time in the first half when Girik Khosla combined well with David Munoz to open up the Arrows defence. After finding Munoz in the box, the Colombian missed an easy chance to send Sreenidi Deccan two goals up at half-time.
Indian Arrows continued to persevere and found an answer with one of the final kicks of the ball in the first half. Vibin Mohanan contributed with a fantastic choice finding Velanco Rodrigues inside the box. There was a hint of offside in Rodrigues’ attacking run, but the linesman found no problem with the play and the scores were level again at half-time.
David Munoz had another chance to send Sreenidi Deccan ahead in the 51st minute as he came to the back post after a corner kick. Arriving in the right position, the striker couldn’t get solid contact on the ball as he claimed he was hampered by his marker inside the box.
After a slew of missed chances, Sreenidi Deccan regained the lead in the 68th minute. It was David Munoz with his sixth goal of the season that gave his team the decisive goal. Right-back Lal Chungnunga played a dangerous ball into a promising area inside the Arrows penalty box, and Colombian David Munoz was on hand to do the rest as he unleashed an imposing header that swept past Zahid Bukhari.
Sreenidi Deccan let her experience shine through for the remainder of the competition, depriving the Indian Arrows of any opportunity to settle into a rhythm in search of an equaliser. Sreenidi Deccan has picked up three wins in its last three games with this result as the Indian Arrows will look to return to the drawing board in search of a winning run.
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