I-league: Real Kashmir one notch up after drawing against Gokulam in Kerala
Kozhikode (Kerala), Dec 15: After completing one month long home leg of the ongoing I- League 2018-19, Real Kashmir FC continued with its dominating performance holding back Gokulam Kerala FC in a match that ended in a 1:1 draw, here on Saturday.
EMS Corporation Stadium, with a capacity of over 85,000, witnessed one of the loudest matches on Saturday as over 13,800 spectators had arrived to watch the game.
It was the second away game of Real Kashmir FC, which last week jumped to third position after defeating Shillong 6:1.
The game started off on an aggressive note as RKFC played fast and attacking football for nearly 10 minutes during which the team got many chances to net the ball.
But it was Pritam Singh of Gokulam who scored in the 20th minute to give his team a well-deserved lead even as the visitors fought to equalise through a brilliant strike by Surchandra Singh in the 69th minute.
With this draw RKFC jumped one notch up to Rank 2 in the league by gaining 14 points, thereby toppling Churchill Brothers.
Host team Gokulam Kerala FC also replaced East Bengal at the sixth place with 10 points from eight matches.
Head Coach Gokulam Bino Geogre throughout the match made five changes including replacement of foreigner Mudda Musa, Rashid K and Pritam Singh came in for Bodo and Rajesh S at the attacking front.
In the 10th minute of the game Gokulum FC got a chance but its midfielder Arjun Jayarajwas failed to convert it to a goal.
RKFC’s captain Loveday Enyinnaya got an equal chance seven minutes later which leapt above others to connect to a looping corner but it went off target.
Pritam Singh from the host team stole a chance to score a goal which sent the crowd into frenzy.
He took on his own to hurl the attack from the middle and before Bilal could reach on time, he chipped it to hit the target.
The Malabarians could have doubled their lead in the 52nd minute. Joel Sunday flicked a long ball into the path of Arjun Jayaraj who dribbled forward and crossed into the box from the byline. Pritam Singh arrived in the box at the right moment to latch onto the ball but his effort was saved by Bilal Khan.
Real Kashmir started threatening to claw their way back, both from set-pieces. A free-kick from the right was headed wide by Abednego Kofi Tetteh in the 63rd minute. Two minutes later Mason Robertson’s flick from a corner routine found Loveday Okechukwu inside the box whose pass across the face of goal had no takers.
The visitors’ pressure yielded an equaliser in the 69th minute. Tetteh played an excellent diagonal towards Surchandra Singh on the right flank. The winger cut inside to his left and curled a fantastic strike into the far corner.
Head Coach Real Kashmir FC, David Robertson said his players took time to pick up on a new ground which cost them a goal.
“We got two to three chances earlier but failed. Our players initially struggled to establish their legs on the ground. But when they did, they dominated the second half,” he said.
Coach Robertson said the climate equally played foul initially in the game.
He appreciated the crowd and said the team also missed the energizing support as witnessed in Kashmir.
“Support in Kashmir for our team was phenomenal,” he said.
Gokulam Kerala FC Head Coach, Bino Geogre said his team was in need of a striker to display good football ahead.