I-League 2023-24: Sreenidi pile on the misery for Rajasthan United
Hyderabad, Nov 23 : A goal on the stroke of half-time by William Alves and an own goal by Sachin Jha in first-half added time helped Sreenidhi Deccan beat Rajasthan United 2-1 in an I-League 2023-24 match on Thursday.
In the absence of David Castanaeda, Sreenidi did enough to register a narrow victory against Rajasthan. The win drew them to within three points of Mohammedan Sporting at the top of the table. Rajasthan meanwhile remain rooted second from bottom.
Despite the teams' contrast in forms, and even their confidence on the pitch, it was Rajasthan United who struck first, Richardson Denzell slotting home in the opener as early as the 3rd minute of the game.
The goal itself came off the back of a Sreenidi corner and a rare defensive error from the usually reliable Gurmukh Singh. Sreenidi Deccan had dominated the early exchanges and after their corner was cleared to the byline near the centre, a fairly innocuous throw in was played to Gurmukh. The central midfielder's first touch was dubious allowing Richard Gadze to apply pressure and topple him in the process. The loose ball fell perfectly for Richardson to slot into the far corner from inside the box.
Sreenidi's game started coming together soon after conceding that opener, Ali Sabia and Faysal Shayesteh at the heart of all their work. Their two wing-backs Jagdeep Singh and Abhishek Ambekar were relentless going forward and kept pinging the crosses in and Sachin Jha was kept on his toes in the Rajasthan goal.
The equaliser arrived right on the 45th minute mark, William Alves capitalising on some lacklustre defending from a corner to pounce on a loose ball in the six-yard box and slit it home. Within minutes, Sreenidi had the lead. This time Gurmukh was inducing errors at the other end of the pitch, rising from a long-floated Abhishek Ambekar ball to disorient goalkeeper Sachin Jha, who while trying to catch the ball fumbled and ended up putting in his own net.
Sreenidi never let their levels drop through the second period, constantly threatening the Rajasthan goal while simultaneously keeping their attackers at an arm's distance.
The best chance fell to Alves in the 65th minute, his decision to lob the keeper ended up with the ball on top of the net rather than in. It didn't matter as Sreenidi wrapped up the three points, and Rajasthan's slump continued.