Kalyani (West Bengal) [India], March 17 (ANI): Relegation was confirmed for Neroca FC as they slumped to yet another defeat, losing by a solitary goal to nil against Sudeva Delhi FC on Tuesday.
Gursimrat Singh Gill's header in added time of the first half proved to be the difference between the two sides in a match where Neroca had largely themselves to blame for the defeat.
Coming on the back of a 0-1 loss to Aizawl FC in their last match, Neroca needed all three points to stand a chance of taking the relegation battle to the final matchday.
The Gift Raikhan-coached side played with desperation from the opening minutes of the match, in their quest to take an early lead.
In the 16th minute, Sudeva Delhi FC had their first opportunity on goal when Mahesh Singh tested his luck from the distance. The strike, although accurate, lacked venom and was easily collected by the opposition goalkeeper.
But perhaps the best opportunity of the first half fell to Judah Garcia in the 19th minute. After the forward danced past the opposition defensive line, he was found with a low cross from the flanks. Garcia failed to connect from close range as Sudeva Delhi survived a scare.
All of Sudeva's attacking play finally reaped dividends in the added time of the first half when Gursimrat Singh Gill headed the ball home after Shaiborlang Kharpan had robbed possession off the Neroca custodian before releasing across to find Gill's head. The half-time scoreline read 1-0 in Sudeva Delhi's favour.
Early in the second half, Sudeva Delhi FC's goalkeeper Rakshit Dagar made some good saves to deny NEROCA the chance to grab the equalizer and it once again seemed like Neroca had run out of steam.
Neroca tried hard to get the equaliser but eventually failed in their attempts. The full-time scoreline read 1-0 in favour of Sudeva Delhi FC, with Gursimrat Singh Gill being adjudged the Hero of the Match. With this result, Neroca FC have confirmed relegation with one match still to go.
The side from Manipur now is at the rock-bottom of the league with eight points from 13 games. While they are up against their relegation rivals Chennai City in their last match of the season, the latter have a four-point advantage. (ANI)