By I-League Media Team
GOA: Royal Wahingdoh secured their spot in the final of the Nike Premier Cup 2016 winning against United Sports Club by a margin of 3-0 at the Nagoa Panchayat ground in Goa today. Two first half goals from Rheadolf Nelson Daloi (37) and Phrangki Buam (40) and a late goal in the second half by substitute Modester Matlai (88) ensured a safe passage for the Shillong-based side.
Bobby Nongbet’s side dominated the first half and created the bulk of chances in the first 45 minutes of play.
Phrangki had the first shot on the target as the midfielder tested United SC’s keeper Avishak Shaw with a dipping shot from 25 yards out which was tipped away by the purple custodian.
The Kolkata side had their own opportunity to open the scoring in the 9th minute when a pass from the right found an unmarked Santosh Singh in the box. The winger drilled a shot into the far corner only for the Wahingdoh keeper Kevinson Bareh to dive low and parry the ball away.
After sustained pressure on United SC’s goal, Wahingdoh finally went ahead due to an error from keeper Avishak in the 37th minute. United goalkeeper Avishak misjudged the bounce of a long ball from the centre of the field by Wahingdoh midfielder Hmingsang Zuala. The keeper tried to salvage the situation by attempting a desperate lunge only to see the ball sail over him and into the path of Wahingdoh skipper Rheadolf who just tapped the ball in.
The North-eastern doubled their lead just three minutes later in the 40th minute from the penalty spot. The spot-kick came about when Rheadolf went on a solo run from his own half and into the opposition box only to be tripped inside the penalty area by United defender Kabir Mallick.
Referee Rafeek Babu took his time but eventually pointed to the spot as Phrangki stepped up and shot a low drive into the left corner of the net and beat Avishak all ends up.
Royal Wahingdoh went into half-time with a 2-0 lead after dominating the first-half.
In the second half, United Sports Club tightened up the midfield to stifle the likes of Rheadolf and Phrangki and the strategy was working as Nirmalya Halder’s boys started growing in influence in the game.
United SC had a few attempts at goal with Ram Hembram and skipper Sanjib Mondal coming closer to pulling one back.
However, it was Royal Wahingdoh who got the third goal of the game after substitute Modester capitalised on a miscued clearance by United defender Pravat Soren. The full-back tried to clear a ball from the half-way line only for the ball to ricochet off Modester and roll towards his own goal.
The forward ran with the ball completely unmarked and rounded up the keeper before passing the ball into the net to complete a comprehensive victory.
Bobby Lyngdoh Nongbet, Royal Wahingdoh coach was in all praise for his boys who are just one step away from clinching the maiden Nike Premier Cup, “The boys have been preparing with their heart and soul. I knew it was going to be tough because in the final rounds all the best teams from India are fighting it out for the Championship. We scored two first-half goals which changed the game entirely. From then onwards we knew we had a very good chance and now we are in the finals.”