New Delhi: Real Kashmir FC registered their first victory of the I-League, beating defending champions Chennai City FC 2-1 in Srinagar on Thursday. Local hero Danish Farooq (22nd minute) and Ivorian Bazzie Armand (27th) scored for the hosts while Syed Suhail Pasha was the lone scorer for the visitors.
Commenting on Real Kashmir's victory, Sandeep Chattoo, the team’s co-founder, said, “It was a splendid win and we did it for Kashmir. The coach and the team ensured that every Kashmiri returned home with a smile on their face.”
With the win, Real Kashmir jumped to the seventh spot with five points from three matches while Chennai City dropped to eighth with five from five games.
It was Real Kashmir's first home match of the tournament. They were supposed to play their first home match in Srinagar at the TRC ground on 12 December. But owing to heavy snowfall that forced the closing of the Srinagar airport, their successive home games against Gokulam Kerala FC on 12 December and Churchill Brothers on 15 December were postponed.
With hazy sunshine and December cold, two highly spirited football teams Real Kashmir FC & Chennai City FC playing in Astro Turf Football Ground Srinagar. Real Kashmir FC is leading by 2:0.
Pleasure to see a lot of youngsters enjoying the game. pic.twitter.com/ANyfBE6ohf
— Imtiyaz Hussain (@hussain_imtiyaz) December 26, 2019
The home team led 2-0 at halftime in the first sports match in Kashmir after the abrogation of Article 370.
Real Kashmir were faster off the blocks and received a golden opportunity to go ahead when Kallum Higginbotham menacingly entered the box from the right flank but Mason Robertson failed to push the ball into a gaping net. The hosts, though, didn't have to wait much as Farooq found the net and put them ahead in the 22nd minute.
An unmarked Farooq leaped high to head home an accurate cross from Kallum Higginbotham from the right flank. The early goal helped Real Kashmir gain control of the proceedings and Higginbotham ran the show from the centre of the pitch.
Chennai City found it difficult to deal with his crosses from both flanks. One such probing delivery led to the second goal in the 27th minute. Ivorian Bazzie Armand rose above two defenders to direct his header into the top corner.
The 'Snow Leopards' could have scored another goal before half-time had Mason, fed by Higginbotham, not dragged his shot past the far post. Chennai needed a quick goal after the break to turn their fortune. And they scored in the 47th minute through Syed Suhail Pasha, who nodded home after Pravitto Raju flicked a bouncing ball towards him.
An energised Chennai City then put Real Kashmir under pressure, creating a couple of opportunities after their first goal. But it never seemed they could nick an equaliser despite enjoying 65 percent of ball possession.
The match was attended by Farooq Khan, Advisor to Lt Governor of Jammu and Kashmir, who complimented both the teams for enthralling Kashmiris with an excellent football show.
Real Kashmir's next match is at home against Mohun Bagan AC on 5 January, 2020. Chennai City, on the other hand, will square off against Gokulam Kerala FC on 9 January.
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Updated Date: Dec 26, 2019 18:43:06 IST