A Ranti Martins goal proved to be enough for Eelco Schattorie's side. The loss means that United Sikkim are now seven points off safety, with five games to go...
Prayag United defeated United Sikkim by a scoreline of 1-0 in an I-League encounter at the Paljor Stadium in Gangtok.
Ranti Martins scored the all-important goal in the 27th minute, with the hosts unable to muster a reply.
The Snow Lions started with Pablo Rodriguez Aracil and Nurudeen Salau upfront, while Eelco Schattorie gave Kayne Vincent and Ranti Martins the nod in attack, leaving Carlos Hernandez on the bench.
The two teams started on the offensive, looking to gain an early advantage. However an alert defense stopped Lalkamal Bhowmick from testing Rakshit Pawar in goal, while a poor first touch often let down United Sikkim’s two forwards, when they got into dangerous areas.
Salau almost gave his side the lead, but his header was tipped over by Subrata Paul, and the away side's defense also had a lot of problems dealing with Pablo Aracil, who won a lot of aerial battles, bringing his team-mates into play.
Ranti Martins then had an attempt on goal, which the home side’s custodian proved equal to, while Kayne Vincent was inches away from connecting with a cross by Lalkamal Bhowmick, moments later.
The pressure eventually told when Ranti Martins gave his side the lead in the 27th minute, with the keeper unable to stop the Nigerian from scoring his 22nd goal of the season after Kayne Vincent had found his strike-partner with a ball that cut past the entire backline of the hosts.
The away side continued to press forward for a second goal, but an organized United Sikkim backline kept them at bay.
Pablo then had a chance to force home a equalizer, but he missed the opportunity, after being found by Linekar Machado in the 39th minute.
That proved to be the last real chance of the half, as the referee blew the whistle, to signal half-time.
Ranti Martins almost doubled his and Prayag’s tally for the day, shortly into the second half. However Rakshit came up with a good save, to deny the Nigerian.
The forward almost was through on goal once more within a few minutes, but Anwar Ali came back in time to deny the Prayag United striker.
Salau then had two opportunities to force home an equalizer, but Subrata Paul thwarted him on both the occasions.
Carlos Hernandez came on in the 70th minute, and looked lively from the off, creating two opportunities for his team-mates within minutes of joining the action.
Schattorie’s side though, failed to score a second goal and effectively end the contest, and had to go through a few nervy moments, before the referee eventually bought the game to and end, with the Kolkatan outfit bagging all three points.
The win takes Prayag to fourth on the table with 34 points, one above Pune FC, who have three games in hand, compared to Schattorie’s side.
United Sikkim meanwhile stay seven points adrift from safety, and now have five games to go, in which they shall have to try and attain survival, miraculously.
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