The Indian Arrows secured their first win of the Hero I-League 2021-22 season with a resounding 1-0 result over Sudeva Delhi FC here at the Naihati Stadium on Friday. Hero of the match, Parthib Gogoi got the solitary goal to decide the contest in favor of the Indian Arrows, in the contest.
Both teams settled into their rhythm early in the game and tried to get control possession of the ball in the opening few minutes of the contest. Sudeva Delhi FC was the first to work the opposing goalkeeper, when they managed to isolate William Pauliankhum against his man in the 4th minute.
William chopped into his favoured right foot and drove a stinging shot towards the near post from inside the box, but Arrows custodian Ahan Prakash was not to be caught out on his near post.
The AIFF’s developmental side, the Indian Arrows, didn’t have to wait much longer for their own first look at goal, when Parthib Gogoi intercepted a misplaced pass from Sudeva Delhi FC in the 7th minute. Gogoi set his sights on goal early and pulled the trigger from the edge of the box, but his effort deflected behind for an Indian Arrows corner.
The first half continued to be a cagey affair, with neither team overextending their resources to push for the opening goal of the game. The contest was characterised by high pressing from head coach Shanmugam Venkatesh’s Indian Arrows side, which earned them plenty of turnovers in the opponent’s half.
The game burst into life in additional time of the first half as Indian Arrows centre back Amandeep got sent off for a foul inside the box, awarding Sudeva Delhi FC a penalty on the stroke of halftime. William, who had been Sudeva’s brightest spark in the match thus far, stepped up to take the spot-kick, but blazed his effort over the bar, keeping both teams level at halftime.
Down to 10 men, the Indian Arrows emerged in the second half facing an uphill battle to get a result out of this game. Sudeva Delhi FC head coach Mehrajuddin Wadoo made a change at halftime, bringing off winger Rishabh Dobriyal for youngster Shubho Paul.
With the man advantage, Sudeva Delhi FC attempted to gain control in the middle of the park, but it was Indian Arrows who made the first breakthrough at the hour mark. As the Arrows midfield tried to thread a pass-through for wide forward Parthib Gogoi, the ball was intercepted by Nishchal Chandan, who then failed to clear his lines. Gogoi managed to win the ball in a dangerous position and slid a calm finish past goalkeeper Sachin Jha.
With the odds weighing against them, the Indian Arrows decided not to sit back with their slender lead and pushed for a second goal. They nearly doubled their lead in the 64th minute when goalscorer Gogoi smashed a low drive off the frame of the goal.
Sudeva Delhi huffed and puffed in search of an equaliser, and had a golden chance to be back on level terms in the dying moments of the game in the 92nd minute. Souvik Das took the direct route and played a long ball into the box, which was nodded on by captain Sairuatkima. The ball fell to the diminutive Chesterpoul Lyngdoh, who failed to keep his volley in control as the chance went begging.
Indian Arrows held on for a 1-0 victory and secured their first three points in the Hero I-League this season, inflicting Sudeva Delhi FC’s second defeat in as many games in the league. The Arrows will next face off against Kolkata giants Mohammedan Sporting at the Naihati Stadium on March 12, while Sudeva Deli takes on Churchill Brothers at the same venue on March 8.