Kolkata, Sep 22: Debutants Rangdajied United FC couldn’t produce their desired result in their first-ever I-League football game as they went down 0-2 to United SC at the Salt Lake Stadium here Sunday.
Ranti Martins and Eric Brown got their names on the scoresheet for the winners.
Rangdajied United started in a 5-3-2 system with all three registered foreigners – Lamine Tamba, Yohei Iwasaki and Edmar Figueira – in the starting eleven.
With the match kicking off at 3 p.m. in the afternoon, Rangdajied players, coming from cold Shillong conditions, found it more difficult to get going in the hot and humid conditions of Kolkata than their counterparts.
United SC had the first meaningful attack of the game with Eric Brown testing Rangdajied United goalkeeper Surjay Kumar Pariyar with a cross-cum-shot. Minutes later, Pariyar made a double save from a corner to deny the hosts.
Tapan Maity’s flag kick was headed goalwards by Ranti Martins but Pariyar made a great stop and then showed good reflexes to save Vineeth’s effort.
Rangdajied were struggling to create chances from open play but created a few problems for the United SC defence from corners. Young Sandesh Gadkari produced a decent save off Sangram Mukherjee after skipper Eugeneson Lyngdoh’s excellent delivery.
The Shillong club’s best chance of the first half though fell to Brazilian Edmar who found himself unmarked from a Lyngdoh freekick but only managed a weak header.
Japanese Iwasaki also had a good solo run as Rangdajied ended the half strongly but United SC’s star striker Martins hit the woodwork from a freekick just before halftime.
Both teams struggled to get going in the second half also with no real attempt on goal in the first 15 minutes after the interval.
However, just after the hour mark Martins nearly opened the scoring as he got away from his marker but put his effort narrowly wide. Minutes later, Dhanachandra Singh also went close for United SC from a corner.
With Rangdajied struggling, coach Santosh Kashyap replaced Edmar with Bansharai Sun.
However it was United SC who went in front through Martins as the Nigerian headed home Eric Brown’s well-measured freekick.
The visitors produced a decent response after going behind as Elam Abocha Singh tested Mukherjee from 30 yards.
But the purple shirts doubled their advantage in the 75th minute when Brown and Martins exchanged passes with the former slotting past Pariyar.
Rangdajied tried their best to come back into the contest but in the end had to settle for a losing start.
Lamenting their missed chances, coach Kashyap said, “We paid the price for missing chances in the first-half as United SC showed their experience in the second half and tied us down.”
“Moreover, the heat and humidity also slowed us down. But as the season progress, we will have to adjust to these conditions. I have faith in my boys and we will bounce back,” added Kashyap.