IMPHAL, August 19: The 7th Manipur State League participated by 11 teams commenced from today at the Mapal Kangjeibung.
In the opening match of the football league, defending champion NISA, Thangmeiband defeated first timer Kuki Sporting Club, Lambulane by 2-1.
The first timer KSC players showed some glimpses of fine footwork in the match holding the first half of the match goalless against the defending champion.
NISA scored the first goal of this year’s edition of the state football league in the 65th minute through S Herojit.
The first goal came from a beautiful corner kick from Ch Khamsingthui Golmei which was headed home by Herojit in the second half.
KSC player Themreishang AS equalized the score soon in the 77th minute through a spot kick. The referee, M Magho awarded the spot kick after NISA’s team captain Ajitkumar handed the ball inside his penalty area.
The winning goal for NISA was scored in the 86th minute of match by Michael Joute.
Apart from the penalty kick, the referee also cautioned six players, three each from both sides during the match.
In a post-match interview, KSC coach Tongminthang Haokip expressed that his players had played well in the first half with the 5-4-1 formation attacking much more than the defending champions, however in the second half, they changed their formation to 4-4-2 which weakened his defence and proved to be costly for the team.
He continued that his team was also lacking in strength in the second half as compared to the NISA players.
“We will try to make up in our next match”, he said.
KSC, team captain Lamkholen Haokip said the players lack in fitness. He lamented that the delay in starting their preparatory camp had also shown in their match today.
NISA coach, Kh Ratan Singh said, he said the absence of experience players in his team line up was showing during the match, he said due to the inexperience of the line-up, the team failed to play according plan and lack coordination amongst the players. Though they have won the match, it was not satisfactory.
His players also lacked practice at any good grounds in the run up of the league championship.
He will try to bring coordination in the next match, he said.
NISA captain, Ajit Kumar said due to the presence of a lot of inexperienced junior players in the team, there were certain instances during the match which lack coordination; however he is confident that they will improve as the league marches on, he added.
The league championship has been organized by the All Manipur Football Association sponsored by Khumukcham Joykishan Singh.