Margao: Henry Kisekka scored in the last minute as Gokulam Kerala FC beat Churchill Brothers 2-1 in a thrilling match of the I-League on Sunday.
Gokulam Kerala's victory gave a serious jolt to the Red Machines' hopes of finishing in second place on the points table.
With the win, Gokulam now have 22 points from 15 games – the same as TRAU FC and Real Kashmir FC, overtaking Churchill Brothers in the process, who have 20 points to their kitty.
Churchill Brothers lined up a heavy midfield as they opted for a 3-5-2 formation. Gokulam Kerala, on the other hand, kept five in the defence in a 5-3-2 set-up.
A lot was expected from the captains of both the sides – Churchill's Willis Plaza and Marcus Joseph – as they also happened to be highest scorers for their respective teams.
Churchill Brothers began the game on a positive note and were pressing high up the field. That paid off as it drew the first mistake out of the Gokulam defence in the 7th minute as the ball fell to Plaza, whose shot went across the face of the goal.
The high pressing game, though, did leave gaps in the defence and it was utilised by the Gokulam Kerala skipper in the 31st minute.
He made a run from the left flank into the box and with an inch-perfect ball, found his attacking partner Nathaniel Jude Garcia, who skilfully placed the ball into the back of the net from close range.
With Gokulam Kerala leading 1-0, Churchill went on the attack and but were not able to find the final ball for the equaliser.
Just before the end of the half, Plaza was fouled right at the edge of the Gokulam Kerala box and the resultant free-kick was taken by Lalkhawpuimawia, who drew a diving save from the away side's keeper.
When play resumed, the Red Machines were mounting attack after attack. However, the only thing standing between them and the equaliser was the Gokulam Kerala keeper CK Ubaid.
First, it was a shot by Lalkhawpuimawia followed by efforts from Dawda Ceesay and Plaza which were wonderfully saved by Ubaid.
Against the run of play in the 70th minute, Gokulam Kerala got a free-kick and Marcus Joseph almost scored the second for the visitors as his left-footed set-piece went whistling past the far post.
When all seemed bleak, luck finally shined upon Churchill Brothers when a simple catch from a free-kick was misjudged by Ubaid in the Gokulam goal and Lalkhawpuimawia headed it home for an equaliser in the 73rd minute.
Both sides went for the kill and just as the match seemed to be ending on level pegging, the Red Machines conceded yet again.
It was Marcus Joseph with a cross from the left flank this time around as well, which found Kisekka at a point-blank distance from goal and he tapped the ball home for Gokulam Kerala's second goal.
Updated Date: Mar 09, 2020 08:52:20 IST