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2-Nil and whistle as RKFC defeat Arrows in maiden win at home

Srinagar, Nov 25: Real Kashmir FC on Sunday returned to the winning ways after registering their first victory on home turf against Indian Arrows FC in the ongoing I-League tournament.

Sunday being a holiday saw thousands of spectators thronging the TRC ground and show their support for their team, who recently had to face losses against Neroca and Mohun Bagan FC.

Since morning the ecstatic football fans had lined up outside the match venue to seek passes for the match.

Ahead of the beginning of the match, the entire stadium was jam packed with people irrespective of their age and profession.

RKFC, known as the ‘Snow Leopards’, started the game on an attacking note, making an attempt to score in the very first minute.

The squad saw some changes as Coach David Robertson preferred to bring in Surchandra Singh instead of the regular Danish Farooq.

Similarly, three changes were seen in the Indian Arrows FC, which fielded Rahim Ali, Khumanthem Ninthoigamba and Vikram Pratap Singh.

Real Kashmir FC, which so far had not registered any win at home preferred to play long balls.

It was in the 25th minute when an assistive pass from Masonn Robertson to Surchandra Singh led the ball into the net.

Fans in numbers were ecstatic seeing the team score their first goal on home turf after three-match long wait.

The large crowd waved the flags of the club and cheered for the team.

The players equally celebrated the occasion as many were seen pointing towards the crowd for attaining the feat after three-match long struggle.

A metachronal rhythm from crowd ceased to end for minutes together as football fans expected a bounce back from the Snow Leopards.

In the final minutes of the first half, the Indian Arrows failed to convert a few chances into a goal despite witnessing much possession.

The second half of the game saw some changes from host squad after Danish Farooq was brought in in place of Nagen Tamang in the 56th minute.

The Indian Arrows equally got a chance to score an equaliser but failed when a shoot from Vikram Pratap Singh missed the target.

Continuing with an aggressive tempo, Surchandra in 68th minute of the game delivered an inch-perfect corner to the far post for Danish Farooq who played it back into the six-yard box for Bazie. The midfielder scored a simple header from handshaking distance.

The second goal by hosts followed a loud celebration with defender Aaron Katebe displaying his dancing moves to the people.

The host came really close to adding a third to the score line, but Ravanan Dharmaraj could not cash in.

An additional five minutes were given during which least attempts were made by the Indian Arrows to score a goal.

For minutes together after the match, the winning squad stayed on the ground and thanked the spectators for their support.

Many among the fans were seen shouting names of their favourite football players   and waving Real Kashmir flags.

Tanveer Ahmad, a local from Bandipora, who watched all the matches of native team said he expected bounce back from them.

“They (Real Kashmir FC) have rekindled the hopes of their fans now. We expected a better performance from them and hopefully upcoming matches are going to be more interesting,” he said.

Real Kashmir FC, head coach David Robertson said the first win at home turf by this team was one of his emotional moment in life.

“Today we again showed that we have the ability to battle hard and even work hard with our fighting spirit. But it was support of the people which kept us going and register first win here at home turf,” he said.

Coach Robertson said the win will boast the moral of his players to perform “even better in upcoming matches.”

“We had no pressure at all as we are just new to this league. During the nie day break we toured to Gulmarg even but it is very nice to win. Emotions were on rise when we scored the first goal of I- league in home town,” he said.

Indian Arrows, head Coach Floyd Pinto equally praised the Real Kashmir FC for their “direct style of playing and physicality.”

“You get to see this style very less in I- League. They have a direct style of playing with more physical presence. I think the home ground support is equally helping them,” he said.

Coach Pinto said, “Our boys played well but we were not able to convert few chances into a goal. We had couple of errors but will perform better in upcoming games.”