I-League 2019-20: Phillip Adjah Tettey's hat-trick sees Neroca FC beat Punjab FC in seven-goal thriller

Tettey gave Neroca the lead in the fifth minute before Dipanda Dicka restored parity three minutes later by scoring his 50th I-League goal

Press Trust of India March 10, 2020 22:59:38 IST
I-League 2019-20: Phillip Adjah Tettey's hat-trick sees Neroca FC beat Punjab FC in seven-goal thriller
  • It rained goals in Imphal in an entertaining I-League match with Neroca emerging 4-3 winners against Punjab FC thanks to a hat-trick from Ghanaian striker Phillip Adjah Tettey at the Khuman Lumpak Stadium on Tuesday

  • Tettey gave Neroca the lead in the fifth minute before Dipanda Dicka restored parity three minutes later by scoring his 50th I-League goal

  • Neroca have now moved a place above with 18 points, while Punjab remain in third with 23

Imphal: It rained goals in Imphal in an entertaining I-League match with Neroca emerging 4-3 winners against Punjab FC thanks to a hat-trick from Ghanaian striker Phillip Adjah Tettey at the Khuman Lumpak Stadium on Tuesday.

Tettey gave Neroca the lead in the fifth minute before Dipanda Dicka restored parity three minutes later by scoring his 50th I-League goal. Tettey scored his second in the 37th minute to reclaim Neroca's advantage before substitute Girik Mahesh Khosla (59th) brought Punjab back to level terms near the hour mark.

The visitors were reduced to 10 men after Yumnam Raju was sent off for a second bookable offence. Neroca soon raced to a 4-2 lead, courtesy of an own goal from Punjab's Danilo (75th) and shortly afterwards, Tettey scored his third of the match in the 82nd minute.

Dicka converted a penalty in the 86th minute, but the home side held on for the remainder of match in a nervy finish.

Gift Raikhan made wholesale changes to the home side's line-up. Dhananjoy Singh and Rojen Meitei were called upon at the back. Jiteshwor Singh dropped just behind Imran Khan in midfield. Khangam Horam and Singam Subash Singh started upfront.

Punjab gaffer Yan Law made three changes. Yumnam Raju and Samuel Shadap were reinstated to the four-man defence. Sergio Barboza Jr. also made his return, starting out wide.

The match kicked off to a blistering start. In the fourth minute, Sergio Barboza's menacing run was read by Himanshu Jangra, who made himself available for a pass with an overlapping run. Jangra picked out Dipanda Dicka inside the box, who had a crack first time but was denied by the crossbar.

Just a minute later, Neroca caught Punjab napping on the counter. Jiteshwor Singh led the charge and found Imran Khan to his left. Khan played Tettey through on goal and the Ghanaian forward clinically slotted past Kiran Limbu for the opener.

In the 8th minute, the home side shot themselves in the foot during a corner routine when Imran Khan conceded position outside the Punjab box, which led to a break. Sanju Pradhan ran the length of the pitch before squaring across goal for Dicka, who made no mistake this time to restore parity.

Neroca pressed effectively, and it paid dividends in the 37th minute. Kiran Limbu's wayward pass was picked out, which put Tettey through on goal again. Danilo couldn't recover in time, and Tettey restored Neroca's advantage heading into the break.

In the 48th minute, it was veteran Sanju Pradhan who played culprit and lost the possession to Tettey but with a hat-trick beckoning, he fluffed his lines with his finish.

Near the hour mark, Sanju's set-piece delivery wasn't read by the Neroca backline, allowing substitute Khosla scored a spectacular equaliser.

Yumnam Raju made matters worse for the Punjab outfit, after he picked up a red card for a second bookable offence.

The Orange Brigade thoroughly capitalised on their one-man advantage. In the 75th minute, Imran Khan's left-footed curler found the head of Danilo, and the Brazilian, to his dismay, netted an unfortunate own-goal.

Neroca added to Punjab's misery by adding a fourth. Some schoolboy defending from Punjab again added the final nail in the coffin.

Eze Kingsley gave the ball away and in an attempt to recover the ball, went down to put Tettey through on goal for his hat-trick, which he duly notched this time.

Dicka's 86th-minute penalty made it 4-3 to head towards a nervy finish with five minutes added on but Neroca held on to register a vital win in their quest to avoid relegation.

Neroca have now moved a place above with 18 points, while Punjab remain in third with 23.

Updated Date:

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