Army Green defeated NorthEast United FC (NEUFC) 3-1 in their Durand Cup Group D encounter on Sunday, thereby inflicting a second straight loss to the Highlanders in the tournament. Greens skipper PC Lallawmkima, got a brace while Somesh Kothari struck the other, in a game completely controlled by the Army team. Dipu Mirdha got the lone goal for NEUFC in stoppage time.
With this victory, Army Green join Odhisa FC with a 100%-win record in the Group. Odisha FC had beaten NEUFC 6-0 in the first Group D game on Thursday and Sudeva FC of Delhi had played out a 1-1 draw against Kerala Blasters in the second.
Both teams began in lively fashion in the first half but Army drew first blood in the 9th minute through their captain Lallawmkima whose run was found perfectly by an overhead pass from Sochin Chhetri and he chipped keeper Nikhil Deka from close range.
A fantastic performance by Army Green earns them their first victory of the competition. Thanks for joining us. Stay tuned for the next game at 6pm!#AGreen 3-1 @NEUtdFC#NEUFCAGREEN ⚔️#IGAS 🏟️#DurandCup 🏆#DurandCup2022 🏆#IndianFootball ⚽ pic.twitter.com/5gz8XrbK1e
— Durand Cup (@thedurandcup) August 21, 2022
The Greens stepped up the pressure after the goal which resulted in them grabbing their second. Somesh started the attack from the right and cushioned the ball to an overlapping Chabin Rabha whose shot was saved by the goalkeeper but the rebound fell kindly back to Somesh, who headed it into an empty net.
The experience and physicality of the Army team were too much to handle for NEUFC with the Greens increasing their lead in the 55th minute through Lallawmkima. 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.
A consolation goal came for the Highlanders in injury time when Dipu Mirdha got to the end of an through ball from Alfred.
Army Green will next face Sudeva Delhi FC next Thursday (Aug 25) while NEUFC will hope to add their first win of the tournament when they go up against the Kerala Blasters on Saturday (Aug 27).