13th Manipur State League: Muvanlai Athletics beat DM RAO 1-0 to retain pole position, NISA hold YUFC

By Our Sports Reporter
IMPHAL, Mar 6 : Muvanlai Athletics, Kangpokpi continued to impress as they went back to the top of the 13th Manipur State League table on 18 points following a slender 1-0 victory against DM RAO, Sekmai today at Artificial Turf ground, Khuman Lampak.
It was second straight victory for the Kangpokpi side after their four game winning streak was broken with a 0-1 loss to Sagolband United on February 29.
Muvanlai Athletics which bounced back with a 2-1 win against YUFC in their previous match, were far from the best today but a second half goal by Ginminthang was more than enough for the team to hand DM RAO the 6th straight loss of this edition of Manipur State League.
Both teams were slow off their blocks and failed to create spark except few runs that failed to fare well. Eventually the first half ended goalless with neither side adding to their tally.
Muvanlai Athletics however shifted gears after the restart and were seen dominating the possession before Ginminthang capitalised on a fine chance to give his team a 1-0 lead after 66 minutes. Muvanlai Athletics pressed hard to extend their lead as the goal greatly boosted them but DM RAO defence did well to thwart their following attempts with a series of interceptions and deny further scoring.
DM RAO which are battling to avoid relegation could have drawn level when Khualsanglian Ngaihte was adjudged to have handled a long shot inside the Muvanlai Athletics penalty area and a spot kick was subsequently awarded. But E Joykishan who stepped up to take the  kick had to see his shot hit the crossbar.
SL Seiminthang (30') and Immanuel L Intaote (63') of Muvanlai Athletics and DM RAO's N Somokanta (69') picked up yellow cards in this match.
The day also saw NISA, Thangmeiband salvage a 1-1 draw with YUFC, Ukhrul to remain at second place on 17 points from 7 matches. YUFC on the other hand continued to stay at 6th in the standings on 11 points off 7 matches.
Both YUFC and NISA were neck and neck from the beginning and concentrated the ball mostly in the midfield before SR Kagali executed a shot well to hand YUFC a narrow 1-0 lead in the 34th minute. It was Julian Keising's long range attempt that SR Kagali converted as he latched onto the ball before firing home following a poor clearance header by NISA's defender A Herojit.
The goal forced NISA to up their ante and it was NISA's captain L Gouro who took a pivotal role in staging a series of runs against YUFC. And off a fine pass from N Momocha, S Meiraba was able to beat YUFC keeper in the 43rd minute to bring NISA, which are unbeaten so far, on level terms.
The second half saw a fierce contest as NISA aimed for top place while YUFC look to dislodge SSU at the 5th place but the efforts the two side put in, went in vain with backline on both ends producing resolute defending performances.
Sagolband United (SU) will face Young Physique Union (YPHU), Lalambung in the 56th match of the tournament tomorrow at 1.30 pm.