NorthEast United suffer consecutive defeats at Durand Cup
Army Green's skipper PC Lallawmkima scored a brace while Somesh Kothari struck the other. Dipu Mirdha got a consolation for NEUFC in stoppage time.
Army Green, the last Services team to win the Durand Cup back in 2016, inflicted a second consecutive loss on NorthEast United FC (NEUFC), securing the Group D encounter 3-1 at the Guwahati’s Indira Gandhi Athletic Stadium. One of the greatest Services footballers of recent times, Green's skipper PC Lallawmkima scored a brace while Somesh Kothari struck the other. Dipu Mirdha got a consolation for NEUFC in stoppage time.
The Green's were playing their first match of the tournament and they now join Odhisa FC (OFC) with a 100 percent win record in the group. OFC had beaten NEUFC 6-0 in the first Group D match on August 18, 2022 and Sudeva FC of Delhi had played out a 1-1 draw against Kerala Blasters in the second.
Lively start and relentless attacks
Both teams began in lively fashion in the first half but it was the Green's who were more decisive in the middle. Lallawmkima broke the deadlock in the 9th minute with a beautiful chip over goalkeeper Nikhil Deka from close range.
The Green's put more pressure on the opponents after the first goal, making things difficult for the young NEUFC side with a series of attacks. NEUFC eventually crumbled against the pressure, which resulted in the second goal. Somesh started the attack from the right and pushed the ball to an overlapping Chabin Rabha whose shot was saved by the goalkeeper but the rebound went back to Somesh, who headed it into an empty net.
Experience and Physicality prevails
The experience and physicality of Green's were too much to handle for the youngsters from NEUFC, who increased their lead in the 55th minute through Lallawmkima yet again, who deservedly bagged the Man of the Match. A link up play from the left by Somesh and Gautam found the skipper unmarked at the far post, who just had to tap in.
Green dominated the possession and created chances while the Highlanders could not produce any clear-cut openings and all their attempts were straight at the Green goalkeeper Puia, who had no problems dealing with them.
A consolation goal did come the Highlanders in injury time when Dipu Mirdha got to the end off a through ball from Alfred.