High intensity, crazy home fans, a bit of bees and a whole lot of action
It was a crazy weekend for NPL with unexpected results and high level of football matches being played throughout the three districts. The level of play is seriously improving in Nagaland and NPL is proving just about that. The only drawback is that the referees has to step up their game and go back to the classrooms for we are ushering in a new era of football and the level will just keep getting higher.
Doyang FC Vs Dimapur United
First to kick off were Doyang versus Dimapur United FC in Mokokchung and it set the tone for the afternoon. Dimapur United were more hungrier and edged out Doyang FC. Dimapur United looks like a team that is slowly building up and will grow more as the season progresses. Their midfield was in total control even though the level of play was even, possession was 53 to 47 and as predicted there were midfield battles with Dimapur United coming out on top with a solitary goal. Doyang were not looking like the team that beat Life Sports in Kohima and inconsistency will be a factor for this team lest they pull up their socks. Dimapur United FC were emotional coming into this match as they lost one of their club patrons Mr. Tsukjem Jamir two days before the match. They paid their tribute and they paid it off well by sitting on top of the table for now with 6 points.
Zonipang SA Vs Barak Flamingoz
The second match saw the much awaited game of Barak Flamingoz against Zonipang. The stadium was packed, noisy and dusty however the match did live up to its expectation. It was a game of high intensity with Zonipang applying pressure in the early ten minutes through high balls directed towards the right wing exploiting the height disadvantage of the right back of Barak which was so obvious that the Barak boss replaced immediately with the more versatile Supong early on. Zonipang defense was disciplined and was a joy to watch with Barak wingers running down the flanks with the ball over and over again. The Zonipang boss got his strategy right and Barak were punished on the counter attack with a slip up by the wall Santos which led to the first goal of the match. Barak dominated possessions throughout the match with close to 78 percent of possessions and had many chances but the Zonipang Custodian was equal to all that Barak could throw at him. Barak pushed on and created many chances but Zonipang was deadly on the counter attack all afternoon. Physical met flair till about some bees decided to make the match stingy by stopping the match for some minutes. Zonipang outplayed Barak by 2 goals to 0 with their strategy but Barak did show its class all throughout the match. Zonipang looks like a well oiled machine and after their outing against Barak, they could well be in contingent for the league’s title and mind you all NPL clubs – they mean serious business. For Barak it is going to be a long season and as all top teams we don’t see them slipping up or losing two matches in a row for if they do, they will be playing catch up all season.
New Market FC Vs Life Sports FC
The Derby in Kohima ended with Life Sports clearly taking all the bragging rights for now by thumping New MarketFC. The crowd turnout was less however it did not fail to entertain. We witnessed the first hattrick of the NPL from Thangtinlen Haokip of Life Sports. The limelight however was stolen by a young boy, who could well may be the youngest in our League. A 15 year old boy named Mezhusietuo Sekhose who of all turn into a big boy by scoring the last goal of the evening. The match ended 6 – 0 in favour of Life Sports.
Dynamic FC Vs Sangpang FC
The match in Dimapur saw Sangpang FC winning against the ever improving Dynamic FC. The Dimapur champions came up short through some superb link up midfield play from Sangpang FC. The Mokokchung’s fourth elements travelled to Dimapur for this important fixture and was in full swing throughout the match rallying behind their team who won by a solitary goal and moved up in the points table to sixth. Sangpang will have to take every match point by point if they want to be serious contenders and have to work on their game strategy for they cannot just keep on playing with the same strategy game in and game out. Dynamic FC looks like they are improving but are still some match experience away. They play with their heart and the Coach has to really capture the soul of this young team by making them believe.
FC Naga Tornadoes Vs Kohima Komets
The second match in Dimapur was the biggest draw of the lot with hostile crowd and high intensity gameplay with Tornadoes seriously feeling at home. The match exploded with Tornadoes attacking and controlling the match as they have always done in the NPL so far. The worry for Kohima Komets was whether they could settle down and yes they did for this match so the other teams in the NPL has to be weary of the Komets for when they come it will be stellar. The match was intense with Komets playing a disciplined game of defense and looking to counter attack. The strategy was expected with Tornadoes trying to outgun Komets while Komets should be happy going away with just a point. The match ended in a 2-2 draw but the winner of the Match in paper will definitely be komets for they played in a tornadoes home stadium packed with hostile fans and they know that in the reverse fixture they not only hold the psychological advantage of gameplay but also the Komets faithful – Stargazers will be all geared up to embrace any storm coming their way. Tornadoes as always will be looking to outscore their opponents because thats just the way they play. You score five, they’ll score six on you and thats the way they want to play their game however as the league progresses their defense will be tested. Results like a draw against Kohima Komets is not going to help them even though the seasons long, Tornadoes should know that everyone is playing for 54 points. Kohima Komets just needs to settle their positional plays quickly, their team and maybe rally up their faithfuls.
Goal of the Week –
Second goal against Barak scored by the Striker for Zonipang SA –Imlikokba
In well devised counter attack, Imli receives a well crafted high pass on the right flank with two defenders holding on to a high defensive line controls the ball with a deft first touch, runs through the central defender of Barak does a shimmy and pulls the ball back with his right foot leaving the defender dry and wide; drills a powerful low kick with his left foot beating the keeper and into the low corner from a difficult angle with the roar of the Sunshiners.
– NPL Media Release