Tiddim Road Athletic Union (TRAU) FC were leading the standings in Group C of the 2nd Division I-League before they went down 1-2 against Bengaluru FC reserves at the Khuman Lampak Stadium in Imphal, Manipur, on Saturday.
In the other games held on the same day, Chennaiyin FC reserves broke their duck with a win over Langsning at the SSN College Ground in Chennai, while Mohammedan Sporting Club put down their opportunity to join TRAU and Bengaluru atop after their draw against Jamshedpur FC reserves in their match played at the JRD Tata Sports Complex.
TRAU [Princewill Olariche Emeka 72'] 1-2 BENGALURU [Myron Sezie Mendes 8', 59']
The fixture that was scheduled for a 14:30 IST kick-off was advanced by 15 minutes after a confirmation from the match commissioner Bikash Mukherjee, the reason being the cloudy weather conditions.
Skipper Myron Sezie Mendes' double was enough to hand the JSW-owned team three points with Nigerian forward Princewill Olariche Emeka only managing to reduce the margin of defeat.
Bengaluru coach Naushad Moosa named an unchanged first XI with all but one U-22 player in the matchday squad.
The opener came inside the first10 minutes as skipper Myron Sezie Mendes headed in a Robinson Singh Khumukcham free-kick.
Another one of Robinson's setpieces also nearly resulted in a goal before the break, but Lamgoulen Hangshing's attempted header from the free kick missed the target.
Second half substitute Bidyananda Singh was at hand to create the second goal for the Blues with his corner blocked by goalkeeper Laishram Premkumar Singh before Robinson put the ball into Myron's path to nod in.
After Malemnganba Meitei's miss earlier in the second half, TRAU's goal came in the 72nd minute when Emeka headed in Reisangmi Vashum’s cross from the left side.
Unfortunately, for the hosts, they were denied by the framework a couple of times that eventually led to their first defeat in their group. As a result, TRAU are now on 11 points from 6 games. Bengaluru are on the same number of points, but lead due to a better head-to-head record courtesy the win, with a match in hand.
In their next game, Bengaluru and TRAU face Langsning FC and Jamshedpur FC reserves on April 25th and 26th respectively.
CHENNAIYIN [Bedashwor Singh 68’] 1-0 LANGSNING
It took the reserve squad of the Indian Super League (ISL) champions seven matches to open their account in Group C of the I-League 2nd Division as Bedashwor Singh scored the solitary goal of the match.
Bedashwor, besides Joseph Lalsanglura, was in fact one of the two changes for the southern team with an average age of around 18 as Prosenjit Chakraborty and Hendry Antonay made way for the duo.
Chennaiyin's B. Rohmingthanga missed the first real opportunity of the game after it was Langsning FC who had started the better of the two.
After a barren first half, the visitors resumed the second on a bright note once again but they too were kept busy in defence by Bedashwor's constant runs.
It was none other than the Chennaiyin skipper Bedashwor who bagged the 68th minute winner as he connected to substitute Antonay's cross from the right with a well-timed volley.
Chennaiyin FC goalkeeper Sayak Barai was also responsible for ensuring a much needed victory for his side.They will now face Mohammedan Sporting on April 25, while Langsning will face Bengaluru FC on the same day.
JAMSHEDPUR [Prakash Naik 4’] 1-1 MOHAMMEDAN [Cho Tshering Lepcha 5’]
Jamshedpur FC reserves also consisted of an entire set of U-22 players among whom midfielder Mohammad Mobashir was sent off in the 42nd minute, thus forcing them to play an entire half with 10 men.
On the other hand, Mohammedan Sporting Club handed Syrian midfielder Wael Ayan his club debut with former Mohun Bagan defender Anyichie Echezona Celestine starting for the Kolkata outfit.
A lapse in defence allowed Prakash Naik to scored from close range to put the debutants in front as early as the fourth minute.
However, the Black Panthers' responded with an instantaneous equaliser in the very next minute when Cho Lepcha bulged the back of the net.
Jamshedpur FC were short of a man after Mobashir was sent off by referee Srikant Bohidar after an alledged rash challenge on Ayan. It was his second yellow card of the game.
Around the hour mark, luck didn't favour Mohammedan Sporting in the second half as both Tirthankar Sarkar and Ayan's attempts came off the post with Harpreet Singh beaten in goal on both occasions.
Mohammedan, with 9 points from 6 matches, will face Chennaiyin FC reserves April 25, while Jamshedpur face TRAU FC a day after.
Group C standings*:
|1||Bengaluru FC (reserves)||5||3||2||0||5||11|
|5||Jamshedpu FC (reserves)||7||2||2||3||-2||8|
|6||Chennaiyin FC (reserves)||7||1||0||6||-10||3|
*After Saturday's games