RoundGlass Punjab and NEROCA end I-League campaign with six-goal thriller

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RoundGlass Punjab and NEROCA FC played out a 3–3 draw to end their respective I-League seasons on a thrilling note here on Friday.

Punjab looked set to end their season on a high after leading for most of the competition thanks to goals from Freddy Lallawmawma, Travis Major and Robin Singh.

However, the Orange Brigade had other plans as Juan Mera inspired a strong performance to get on the scoresheet himself and provide assists for Vicky Meitei and Ben Nash to steal a hard-fought point.

Punjab got the first breakthrough when Lallawmawma opened the scoring in the 14th minute.

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Robin sent an innocuous-looking ball into the box from the left flank, which was not dealt with properly by NEROCA centre-back Ben Nash. As a result, Kurtis Guthrie put his body inside the box to win the physical duel and left the ball for Freddy, who fired the ball into the near corner to put Punjab ahead.

After threatening to double their lead earlier, Punjab finally delivered on their promise in the 28th minute. A corner kick from the left flank was delivered at the near post by Robin and met at the far post by Travis, who was careful to direct the ball into the roof of the net.

NEROCA replied with a response in the 36th minute, netting a goal for Vicky.

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On the other side of the half, Robin came to the fore and restored Punjab’s two-goal cushion in the 48th minute.

Just when Punjab was showing signs of withdrawing and winning the contest, NEROCA came right back and reduced the backlog. In the 55th minute, Mera came forward to take a penalty, and the Spaniard made no mistake as he cheekily slotted a Panenka penalty into the goal.

The Orange Brigade completed their comeback in the 86th minute, and it was a story of redemption for Ghanaian Nash.

The draw confirmed a fifth place finish for Punjab, while NEROCA finished in seventh place in the standings.

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