Dimapur, March 3: Runaway league leaders Natak FC trumped defending champions Trinity Sporting 3-0 on Matchday 12 of the CASE Premier League clash clearing its path to claim the Season 4 championship title with two matches remaining.
The first few minutes of the game saw little from both sides, but the Trinity forwards seemed more menacing, enterprising, and created more openings and scoring chances.
However, it was Nataks who opened the scoring and doubled their lead in quick succession: a brilliant 22nd minute long-range effort from forward Pokhotso whose shot rattled the woodwork before nestling into the net leaving the Trinity keeper a mere spectator while winger Supong added another two minutes later.
Just before the break, Natak’s Jogon found the ball from a rebound, which the keeper had failed to collect, and neatly placed the ball into the back of the net.
As the second half resumed, Trinity Sporting stepped up their attacking game bringing in their talisman forward Atokito but Natak’s veteran sweeper Yanger never lost sight of the young attacker’s moves. Although Trinity kept pressing at short intervals and had good possession of the ball, timely interceptions from the Natak defenders kept any danger at bay ensuring the victory.
The orange brigade have 31 points from their 12 games and lead their nearest rivals Sporting United by 8 points – a mathematically impossible task with only two games remaining.
Earlier, Sporting Union sunk Ruboo United 2-0 to claim 3 crucial points to climb above Trinity to second place on the table – ahead of Nizams FC on goal difference. Both teams looked formidable with numerous attempts and chances from both sides but a goal each from Inaka and Repaakum was enough to seal the victory for Sporting.
Nizams FC defeated CASE FC 2-1 as goals from Nchum Ovung and Akato kept their hopes of securing second place alive. In an action-packed match, the Nizams with their possession style play had the first chance at goal from Khobu’s freekick which found teammate Theyo.However, his header failed to steer the ball on target. CASE custodian Jaimeren had a brilliant day in the field as he made some acrobatic saves to deny shots from Deo and Akato.
Minutes after half-time, Nizams’ striker Nchum took advantage of a defensive mix-upand dinked the ball over the charging keeper to give Nizams’ the lead.
The second goal came when veteran Akato, seeing the CASE keeper step out of position, attempted a far off shot which struck the crossbar before finding its way into the back of the net.
The lone goal for CASE FC came through a penalty owing to a handball- a harsh call from the referee who pointed to the spot after the ball had struck Nizams’ captain Pito on the back of his arms. Abenthung stepped up and made no mistake to slam the ball past the diving Nizams keeper Temsumeren’s outstretched hands.
Meanwhile, Joga Bonito FC outclassed bottom placed Super Strikers with a 4-2 win. Joga striker Dr. Lipok Jamir opened the scoring account in the 15th minute of the first half while Neiphrezo added to the tally in the 21st minute. Six minutes later, winger Dr. Lurong scored a spectacular goal a curling shot from a corner kick that found the back of the net.
As the second half progressed, Super Strikers hit back through a penalty kick that was converted by Hosheto. However, Dr. Lipok scored another for his side in the 60th minute. In the added time, Super Strikers captain Vayu managed to salvage a goal for his team. Joga Bonito climbed a spot up to fifth place with today’s win.
(Page News Service)