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Tiddim Road take out NISA
- Coach lays emphasis on fitness of players

Imphal, Dec. 11: North Imphal Sporting Association (NISA) made a sad exit in the pre-quarter final stage after they lost to Tiddim Road Unique Gamy Players Union 5-6 via penalty shootout in the 53rd Sir Churchand Singh Football Tournament at Mapal Kangjeibung here today.

NISA had the upper edge in the match leading with an early goal but Tiddim Road found the equaliser just before the final whistle to effect a penalty shootout. A wasted penalty chance by skipper N. Jimmy Singh also cost NISA dearly in the second half.

NISA got the early breakthrough in the eighth minute from a flag kick as M. Abhiraj Singh sent goalmouth cross which was deflected by a Tiddim defender. The ball was, however, chest-trapped by L. Dewan Singh, who slammed home a stunning grounder for the lead.

The Tiddim side was not ruffled by this slim lead and continued with their natural game waiting for a loose end. NISA squandered several chances, as the players were not positioned properly.

Resuming in the second half, NISA continued their poor show as N. Jimmy wasted an absolute sitter and later, he also miss a penalty shooting wide in the 84th minute.

Tiddim Road found success in injury time from a flag kick as L. Gouro sent a perfect cross to the goalmouth. Goalkeeper L. Premkumar fumbled the ball, which was collected by M. Suhiranjan and netted to perfection.

With regulation time ending 1-1, a penalty shootout followed to decide the outcome. The Tiddim Road team converted all the five kicks as L. Ratan, G. Maringmei, L. Gouro, S. Surchand and Kh. Naoton scored. For NISA, N. Rajesh, T. Ajitkumar, Th. Santosh and M. Abhiraj converted their shots, while K. Benjamin Kamson’s kick was saved by keeper N. Thoi Singh for the victory today.

A beaming Tiddim Road coach G. Dhanachandra Sharma said NISA was a strong opponent, but he always gave more importance to fitness. It was the tireless effort of his boys, he claimed, that helped them net the equaliser and win the match. “We were on the lookout for loose ends and planned to strike when the opponent was worn out,” he said.

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