I-League: Real Kashmir FC's win confirms relegation for NEROCA FC

Gnohere Krizo, Hyder Yousuf and Shaher Shaheen scored for Real Kashmir FC

Real Kashmir FC Real Kashmir FC players celebrate a goal | Twitter

Real Kashmir FC dished out a fine performance to outclass NEROCA FC 3-0 in the I-League on Saturday. The result relegated the Manipur outfit to the second division following a poor season.

Goals from Real Kashmir's Gnohere Krizo (35'), Hyder Yousuf (45') and Shaher Shaheen (67') sealed the fate of NEROCA FC in the league.

This loss left the Orange Brigade in 12th place, with a total of 13 points from 21 matches. Their record of four wins, one draw, and 16 losses reflects the challenges they faced throughout the season.

With only three matches left to play, NEROCA find themselves in an insurmountable position, and even if they were to win all their remaining fixtures, they would only earn a total of 22 points, falling short of overtaking Churchill Brothers, as Namdhari are exempt from relegation this season.

The other team to have been relegated is their city rivals TRAU FC.

Real Kashmir, on the other hand, finally notched up a win after playing out consecutive draws in their last four matches. They also extended their unbeaten streak to nine matches.

The last time the Snow Leopards had lost a match in the league was against Rajasthan United FC back on February 9.

The win took them to second spot in the standings even though they are out of the title race. They now have 40 points from 22 matches with 11 wins, seven draws and four losses.

NEROCA came into the match on the back of two derby wins over TRAU and were in a do-or-die situation.

However, they failed to put up a meaningful challenge on Saturday. The Snow Leopards dominated from the outset and created a flurry of chances before taking the lead in the 35th minute.

Carlos Lomba launched a long ball from the deep towards the direction of Krizo.

The Ivory Coast striker controlled the ball with his head and surged past two NEROCA players Baoringdao Bodo and Ronaldo Nongthombam to set himself up in a one-on-one position with goalkeeper Khoirom Jackson Singh.

With the custodian coming off his line, Krizo intelligently chipped the ball over Jackson's head to open the scoring.

Real Kashmir doubled their advantage at the stroke of half time.

Kashmir defender Shaher Shaheen saw Yousuf making a run on the overlap and sent a long ball forward.

Yousuf beat the offside trap brilliantly with a well-timed run before bringing down the aerial ball with a deft touch and unleashing a skilful left footer to score in the 45th minute.

The script didn't change much in the second half as Real Kashmir extended their lead through a set piece.

Jeremy Laldinpuia floated in a corner from the left and an unmarked Shaheen scored with a header at the far post.

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