Sudeva Delhi's run of eight winless games in the I-League at the Chhatrasal Stadium came to an end with an emphatic 4-1 victory for the side from the Capital against TRAU FC on Wednesday, February 23, 2023. This was their first win at home this season.
A completely different approach by Sankarlal Chakraborty's men meant that Sudeva Delhi never really looked like bottom-dwellers against fourth-placed TRAU. It took them a little over 30 minutes to break the deadlock through R Lalbiakliana, with Sielenthang Lotjem doubling the lead just minutes later. Bidyananda Singh pulled one back for TRAU just ahead of the breather, but Alexis Gomez and Hriivei Pao netted two more to give the hosts a comfortable win.
It was TRAU who started the game with the attacking intent and even came close to opening the scores early on in the third minute, but Sudeva captain Priyant Kumar Singh got a hand on the cutback from Gerson Vieira, who was looking to put the ball into the path of Fernandinho waiting at the far post.
However, it did not take Sudeva too long to get a grasp of their oppositions and take control of the game. Argentine Alexis Gomez hit the cross-bar in the 15th minute, while R Lalbiakliana, who constantly got into interesting positions during the set pieces, saw his free header at the far post saved by the TRAU goalkeeper Shayan Roy.
At the half-hour mark, Lalbiakliana found himself free in the opponent's box but before he could pull the trigger, TRAU's Naresh Singh slid in to clear the ball. Sudeva soon got back-to-back corners and it was from the second of these corners that Shavkati Khotam found Lalbiakliana, who was lurking unmarked inside the box. The 18-year-old made no mistake as he put the ball into the back of the net with a powerful header.
The hosts doubled their advantage four minutes later, when Gomez found some space outside the penalty area and produced a defence-splitting pass for Seilenthang Lotjem, who calmly finished it past the keeper.
The visitors got one back in the 42nd minute, when Bidyananda Singh's low shot on goal hit the inside of the post before going in. TRAU looked to be clawing back into the game when an altercation on the pitch meant that several players received bookings from referee K Ramdasan. Amidst the melee, Salam Johnson Singh was sent off.
The man advantage worked well for Sudeva in the second half, and Gomez soon won a penalty 10 minutes after the restart after being fouled by Bidyananda Singh inside the box. The Argentine stepped up to the spot for the penalty and sent the opposition keeper the wrong way, to restore the two-goal lead.
With a little over 20 minutes of regulation time left, substitute Hriivei Carlos Pao added a fourth, after Lalbiakliana found him with a wonderful pass, as the former put it past the keeper.
Shubho Paul almost added a fifth on the 83rd minute, when he glided past two defenders, entered the box, and pulled the trigger, but it went wide. With this win, Sudeva move to 12 points on the I-League table but remains at rock bottom. However, they are now just three points away from their nearest rivals Mumbai Kenkre FC. (ANI)