I-League: Real Kashmir crushes Shillong 6:1 to leave home with highest-scorer pride
Srinagar, Dec 11: Six-match I-League home session on Tuesday came to a roaring finish for Real Kashmir Football Club, which defeated ShillongLajong FC by 6:1 for its third consecutive win.
With this, Snow Leopards have become the team with highest number of goals in a match in prestigious league.
Earlier, Churchill Brothers’ four goals in a match was the highest.
The fans of Real Kashmir Football Club (RKFC), which entered the stadium with two consecutive wins at its back, were eagerly waiting for the club’s last game to begin in the Astro Turf TRC ground.
The atmosphere of elation was visible within and outside the stadium, with fans carrying yellow flags, fire crackers, and drums ready to cheer their team.
Amid the biting cold, hundreds of spectators had been waiting on the iron benches for hours before the start of the game, mostly to secure a better view of the ground.
As both the teams stepped into the field, a rhythmic cheer reverberated across the stadium. The spectators seemed to be mindful of it being the team’s last appearance at home.
“Real Kashmir has become our heartbeat. They did what no one else from Kashmir could,” Aamir Khurshid, a fan, said, waving a RKFC flag in the team jersey.
As the ball was placed at the central line, the players as well as the spectators waved at each other, knowing that both will meet after a month’s gap.
The match entirely had an entertaining first-half with four goals scored.
The RKFC opened in the 25th minute, when its striker Gnohere Krizo bamboozled three Lajong defenders before setting up AbednedoTetteh who in turn made no mistake to push the ball past Shillong goalkeeper NeithovilieChalieu.
The goal brought Lajong back into the game when Bilal Khan’s misplaced clearance struck the body of Samuel James LyngdohKynshi and rebiounded ricocheted back into his own net.
But RKFC maintained its ascendancy in the game in the 37th minute. Its defender, Mason Robertson scored from a flag-kick floated in by midfielder Surchandra Singh, sending the home crowd into frenzy.
Within six minutes, Kashmir added one more to their tally when striker NagenTamang found the net to finish off a brilliant move from midfield.
Ivory Coast football Defensive midfielder Bazie Armand started knitting the passes and it was Abednego Kofi Tetteh, who split open Lajong’s defence with a through ball to set-up the left winger in front of goal.
Kashmir went on to score three more in the second half much to the embarrassment of ShillongLajong FC.
Krizo scored his second goal of the campaign when he converted from the spot within five minutes of resumption after referee Santosh Kumar pointed to the spot following a foul on the Ivorian by AibanbhaDohling.
In the 75th minute, the Snow Leopards breached Lajong’s defence for the fifth time when Surchandra Singh rifled in a shot from close range taking advantage of a goal mouth melee, after Tamang’sinitail attempt was half-heartedly cleared from the goal line.
Keeping in mind that it was the last home match in 2018, Head Coach Robertson gave a run to local boys Danish Farooq and Shahnawaz Bashir in the last quarter of the match.
The latter had an immediate impact on the game as he delivered an inch-perfect cross from the left flank inside the box for Tetteh to head home from sniffing distance of goal.
Soon after the win, spectators burst fire crackers while many barged into the ground to click selfies with the winning team.
Minutes after the game, the celebration of victory continued as players thanked spectators for supporting the team.
Coach Robertson credited the three consecutive victories to the efforts put in by the players in the games.
“In previous six games, we defended very well. The players were energetic who worked hard for the results. The support for us has been equally fantastic,” he said.
On upcoming home-away match with Gokulam FC, he said the match will be challenging for them considering Kerala’s warm climate and club’s performances.
“We will be leaving tomorrow for Kerala and will have three days to get accustomed with the climate. Let’s forget about Chennai FC or any other team as every match is like battle for us,” he said.
ShillongLajong FC Head Coach, FC Bobby Nogbel said the physicality of the Real Kashmir players was difficult for them to face in the match.
“Real Kashmir FC is really a fantastic team and the physicality of their players is their main advantage. Rest we had no foreigners and the team was purely local,” he said.