Imphal, 30th December, 2017– Neroca FC and giants East Bengal today played out a 1-1 draw in the penultimate fixture of Hero I-League 2017-18 in 2017 at the Khuman Lampak main Stadium, Imphal today (December 30, 2017). While Katsumi Yusa drew the first blood for the visitors in the 12th minute, Nedo Turkovic lit up the stadium in the 89th minute, having smacked the equaliser for the Gift Raikhan-coached team to split the pie with the table-toppers East Bengal. Nedo’s last-minute equaliser was the saving grace for Neroca FC
Both teams started on a cautious note and put in more effort to hold their own half. The moment of rejoicing came in the 11th minute for the visitors when Trinidad and Tobago-born striker Willis Deon Plaza went through the right side of the box and unleashed a defence-scathing pass to the Japanese midfielder Katsumi who did no mistake to volley it home to silent the 28,000 strong crowd at the Khuman Lampak Stadium in Imphal.
The first half belonged to East Bengal, who outplayed the hosts by adopting an aggressive approach. Though Neroca FC had a few good chances, they lacked the finesse inside the box.
In the 28th minute of the match, Khalid Jamil introduced Md Rafique, who netted a magical goal in his last outing withdrawing Prakash Sarkar. Neroca FC, on the other hand, to instill more vigour in the attacking third brought in Nedo Turkovic at the expense of Israilov Akhlidin in the first half.
After the change-over, Neroca FC were looking more hungry for the equaliser and the Orange outfit kept the Red & Golds defenders on their toes throughout. Their best chance came in the 60th minute when a corner kick from Saran Singh was well-timed by Fabien Vorbe at the goal-mouth but eventually, he failed to convert it into a goal.
Finally, the moment of madness came for the Imphal-based side when Nedo Turkovic found a ball near left part of the 18-yard box and volleyed it past Luis Barreto to send the crowd into a delirium.
Kingfisher East Bengal are now confirmed to finish the year 2017 at the top with 14 points from 7 matches whereas Neroca FC are at the third spot having bagged three points less from 6 matches.
Kingfisher East Bengal will now fly to New Delhi to face Indian Arrows on the Second day of 2018 and Neroca FC will host the youngsters three days later.
Match Result: Neroca FC-1 (Nedo Turkovic 89’) Vs Kingfisher East Bengal-1 (Katsumi Yusa 12’)