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I-League 2023-24: Sreenidi return to winning ways, beat Delhi FC courtesy of an own goal

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Hyderabad, Dec 11 (IANS) Sreenidi Deccan finally broke their winless form with a tight 1-0 victory over Delhi FC in their I-league 2023-24 fixture at the Deccan Arena here on Monday. Gagandeep Bali scored the own goal in the 65th minute as the win took the home side to 20 points from 10 matches.Mohammedan Sporting are on top of the points table with 20 points, but they have played two matches less than Sreenidi.In a goalless first half, both teams strived to gain control of proceedings and thus most of the play was conducted in the middle of the pitch. A lack of finesse in the final third meant neither team was able to create even a notional half-chance.The closest either team came was when an errant pass from Delhi FC goalkeeper Naveen Kumar landed right at the feet of Rilwan Hassan merely yards away from him. The Sreenidi forward was caught as unaware as anyone else, and before he could even control the ball, it had bounced away safely back into Naveen’s gloves.Sreenidi took better control of the game in the second half, dominating play and also locking Delhi’s main enforcer Joseba Beitia out of the game.Hassan had another chance to open the scoring when having collected a cleared header from a throw-in, shaped in perfectly to shoot at goal from inside the box. His effort drifted just wide. A flurry of chances followed for Sreenidi but a lack of composure in front of goal let them down.It was fortuitous then that when the goal did come it came off a brilliant diving header, albeit by a Delhi defender into his own net. Hassan again at the centre of the action, picked the ball up on the left wing, cut in, and let fly a cross, towards the near post.A backtracking Gagandeep Bali, unsure about his position or the players behind him, dived in to head the ball to what he presumed was safety. It went perfectly into the net.With the lead secured Sreenidi started playing the safe game, happy to deny Delhi possession, slow the game down, and pick up fouls in key areas.Sergio Barboza Jr almost made them pay for it in injury time, latching on to a brilliantly delivered free kick from Pape Gassama inside the six-yard box. To Sreenidi’s relief, his header flew high.–IANSbsk/

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