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I-League 2023-24: Inter Kashi beat NEROCA 3-1, return to winning ways in Kalyani

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Kalyani (West Bengal), Dec 1 (IANS) Jordan Lamela struck a brace of goals as first-timers Inter Kashi returned to winning ways in the I-League 2023-24 with a 3-1 victory over NEROCA FC on Friday.

The Spaniard opened the scoring in the 28th minute and added another goal in the first-half added time (45+5). Jackichand Singh scored their third goal in second-half added time (90+2) after Sushil Meetei had reduced the margin in the 63rd minute as Inter Kashi defeated NEROCA FC at the Kalyani Municipal Stadium.

The victory helped Inter Kashi reach 10 points from seven matches with three wins, one draw and three losses. They occupy the eighth spot. NEROCA, on the other hand, are 10th with seven points from eight games.

Inter Kashi came into the match on the back of defeats against Mohammedan Sporting and Real Kashmir. However, Carlos Santamarina’s men showed real character and intent on Friday to eke out a nice win.

Inter broke the deadlock in the 28th minute. Edmund Lalrindika initiated a key play by sending a precise through ball from deep within the field. Nikum Gyamar gave chase and smartly left the ball for Mario Barco, who was swiftly advancing down the left flank.

The skilled Spaniard expertly controlled the ball and delivered a low cross to his fellow countryman, Jordan Lamela. With no NEROCA defenders nearby to intercept, Lamela had ample time to comfortably slot the ball into the roof of the goal, giving Inter Kashi an early lead.

The lead was further extended in the added minute of the first half when Lamela scored his second goal of the match. Barco proved instrumental once again, weaving through the NEROCA defence and drawing defenders towards him before setting up Lamela. The Spaniard adeptly evaded the NEROCA defenders and unleashed a powerful left-footed shot to complete his brace.

NEROCA, though, were not the ones to leave the ground without a fight. They regrouped and returned stronger after half-time, dominating midfield exchanges. Their efforts paid off in the 63rd minute when Waikhom Rohit Meetei delivered a low cross into Inter Kashi’s penalty box. Tarak Hembram responded with a forceful right-footed shot, leading to a goal-line clearance by Bijoy V. However, Sushil Meetei was strategically positioned to take advantage of the rebound, scoring NEROCA’s first goal.

NEROCA tried their best to score the equaliser but the Inter Kashi defenders held firm. In the final moments of the match, Jackichand Singh made an impressive run, evading defenders with skilful twists and turns before being fouled by NEROCA’s Surajit Seal at the edge of the box. Jackichand took the ensuing set-piece, executing a beautifully floated ball that outmanoeuvred NEROCA goalkeeper Irengbam Santosh Singh and found the net, s

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