Imphal, Manipur: The Northeastern Derby between NEROCA FC and Aizawl FC ended in a goalless draw with both the teams sharing a point each. The eventful and highly competitive game saw Neroca’s Brazilian defender Eduardo Ferreira receive a red card for a dangerous challenge on Zikahi Dodoz in the 48th minute. Malemnganba Meitei was adjudged as the Hero of the Match.
Neroca FC, after two continuous defeats to Mohun Bagan and Churchill Brothers, started the game searching for a win to return to title contention. However, it was the visitors Aizawl FC who seemed to press hard to draw first blood but were unable to convert opportunities in their favour.
The Manipuri side, on the other hand, started attacking a little later and were in better control of the game leading it to a good amount of time mid-way into the first half. The hosts made a few interesting moves and breached into the Aizawl box quite a few times but full credit to the Aizawl defenders and goalkeeper Lalawmpuia, who ensured that the hosts do not edge them out early.
While the first half ended goallessly, it was a highly entertaining 45 minutes, as both the teams displayed good football. The highlight of the first half could be summed up with missed opportunities by Aizawl FC when their Nigerian forward Kareem Nurain’s shot from just outside the box hit the post and thereafter was cleared comfortably by the Neroca defence.
The second half began on an eventful note as Neroca FC’s Brazilian defender Eduardo Ferreira was shown the red card in the 48th minute for a dangerous challenge on Aizawl’s Ivorian forward Zikahi Dodoz. Neroca FC, who were now down to 10 men had more trouble coming their way with two back-to-back yellow cards for Sebastian. Thangmuansang, in the 50th minute, and Aryn Williams, in the 52nd minute, for rash challenges.
The game, thereafter, saw the visitors pressing hard on the 10-man Neroca FC at regular intervals, but couldn’t really make the most of all the opportunities that came their way. While Neroca FC did make a few attempts to score but nothing was impressive enough to trouble the Aizawal defence. The goalless game came to an end with both Neroca FC and Aizawl FC sharing the points.