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Football: TRAU make strong comeback to open account in Hero I-League
Imphal, December 23, 2019
Debutants Tiddim Road Athletic Union (TRAU) FC and Real Kashmir FC played out an exciting 2-2 draw on Sunday at the Khuman Lampak Stadium in Imphal, Manipur, earning the home team their first-ever point in Hero I-League 2019-20.
The visitors ended the first half a goal to the good, but the hosts fought back admirably after conceding, reaping rich rewards in the second half and even taking the lead at one point before parity was restored in the game.
Mason Robertson scored a brace for the visitors while Nigerians Emeka Princewill and Patrick Uche scored a goal apiece for TRAU.
TRAU dominated possession in the first half and the combination and movement of Premjit Singh on the right flank and Falguni in the middle was particularly pleasing to the eyes. However, Kashmir coach David Robertson’s strategy of crowding out his half with trusted defensive-minded players and looking to find his tall frontmen with longballs played dividends as TRAU found it tough to penetrate.
The goal, in fact, came against the run of play. Before that, Kashmir had only two long-range efforts, one from Zambian Aaron Katebe in the 17th minute and another from Mason Robertson, a minute before he struck.
The strapping Scottish reposed his coach father’s faith in playing him upfront yet again, when he dispossessed Sandeep Singh at the heart of the TRAU defence and broke inside the box, all the time going away to the right from an onrushing Deepak Devrani, before unleashing a crisp right footer across the goal to beat Mithun Samanta all ends up. TRAU continued to press for an equaliser but could not prize open Phurba Lachenpa’s goal till the end of the half.
They did so as late as the 78th minute of the second half, when a measured cross from left-wing back Denechandram Meetei, saw Emeka meet it with a bouncing header, beating Lachenpa for the first time in the match. Fellow Nigerian Patrick Uche then beat him for the second time in the 82nd minute, this time from a free-kick which got an unfortunate deflection from Mason, wrong-footing the keeper.
The Scot, who was rightly adjudged Hero of the Match, ensured that the hosts did not enjoy their lead for more than a minute. From another wonderful cross from Danish Farooq from the left, Robertson rose perfectly to lob a header over Mithun to cancel out the hosts’ lead.
Following the draw, Kashmir remain ninth on the table having bagged a couple of points from as many games while TRAU moved up one place to tenth with one point from four matches.
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