Kalyani (West Bengal) [India], February 4 (ANI): Chencho Gyeltshen's brace inspired RoundGlass Punjab FC to break TRAU's undefeated record as the Curtis Fleming-coached side defeated their opponents 2-0 on Thursday.
With this win, RoundGlass Punjab FC climbs to third on the Hero I-League table with eight points, while TRAU slips down to seventh. Two moments of brilliance by RoundGlass Punjab FC's Bhutanese import handed them a much-needed win that could revive their I-League season.
In a spectacular start that saw end-to-end action in the opening minutes of the match, both teams tried hard to take the early lead. TRAU pressed higher up the park and tried to squeeze RoundGlass Punjab FC into giving away possession.
In the 12th minute, the Manipur-based club had a golden opportunity to go ahead when Brazilian Helder Ribiero was found inside the box with a cross from the left flank.
The defender, however, was so eager to put his name on the scoresheet that he tried to volley it the first time when he had the chance to control the ball with ease. His effort went over the bar.
The high pressing style of play hampered RoundGlass Punjab FC's midfield as the Curtis Fleming-coached side lost possession multiple times in the middle of the park.
But much against the run of play on the 24th minute, the Punjab outfit had their best opportunity of the first half when a swirling cross from distance aimed for Aphaoba Singh flashed in front of the goal. Aphaoba was waiting at the far post but failed to connect. Even the slightest connection could have given Punjab the lead.
Three minutes later, TRAU only had themselves to blame for not taking the lead. Joseph Olaleye found Bidyashagar Singh inside the box with a through ball that zipped past the opposition defence.
From a handshaking distance and with possibly the easiest chance of the match, Bidyashagar skewed his tap-in wide of the goal as RoundGlass Punjab FC survived the scare.
Where TRAU missed, RoundGlass Punjab scored. In the 42nd minute, a long shot from outside the box by Suranjit Singh was spilt by TRAU's custodian Soram Poirei.
Lurking inside the box, Chencho took advantage and smashed the ball home to take the lead. Courtesy of the Bhutanese forward's strike, RoundGlass Punjab FC led 1-0 at half-time.
Spurred on after the breather, TRAU came on with much vigour in the second half. The Manipur-based club dominated possession and pinned RoundGlass Punjab FC in their defending half, as they controlled the midfield.
Both Bidyashagar and Joseph Olaleye proved to be a threat for the opposition defence, but the lack of finishing up front cost the Nandakumar-coached side.
TRAU's Tajik import Komron Tursunov, who has been the go-to man for the club for goals, was largely kept quiet. On the other end, playing on the counter, RoundGlass Punjab had two glorious opportunities to double their lead but Ashish Jha scuffed both chances.
In the 64th minute, a cross from the right flank by Suranjit Singh was brought down by Chencho inside the box. With his first touch leading the ball away from him, the Bhutanese forward showed signs of brilliance as he controlled the ball quickly, scooped it to his right foot, and unleashed a venomous shot that doubled RoundGlass Punjab's lead, much against the run of play.
TRAU tried to come back into the match to salvage at least a point but solid defending by the opposition kept them at bay.
Half-chance by Joseph Olaleye and Komron Tursunov were missed and RoundGlass Punjab's defensive tactics meant that TRAU failed to breach the citadel. At the end of full-time, the scoreline read 2-0 in RoundGlass Punjab FC's favour. (ANI)