I-League 2021: Gokulam Kerala fight back to beat Punjab FC in seven-goal thriller; Churchill Brothers hold Mohammedan

In a tactical match where chances were few and far between, both teams cancelled each other out in the middle of the park, sharing the spoils of the match.

Press Trust of India January 14, 2021 20:56:47 IST
I-League 2021: Gokulam Kerala fight back to beat Punjab FC in seven-goal thriller; Churchill Brothers hold Mohammedan

Action from Mohammedan SC's draw against Churchill Brothers. Twitter@ILeagueOfficial

Kalyani: Churchill Brothers played out a goalless draw against Mohammedan Sporting in a top of the table clash of the I-League on Thursday.

In a tactical match where chances were few and far between, both teams cancelled each other out in the middle of the park, sharing the spoils of the match.

Churchill Brothers dominated possession in the opening minutes but gradually the match changed into an end-to-end affair.

In the seventh minute, Sanjib Ghosh was provided with a golden opportunity to put Mohammedan Sporting ahead, much against the run of play, but the midfielder sent his shot over the bar.

Thereafter, both the teams played cautiously and chances became rare for either of them.

For the majority of the first half, play was limited in the midfield. In the 41st minute, Luka Majcen tried to volley off a corner kick, but shot the ball over the bar.
The complexion of the match did not change much in the second half.

A defending error in the 48th minute could have led to a Churchill goal when Asheer Akhtar slipped in the defending third, allowing Miranda to break free and release a fine cross for Majcen. However, Roy intercepted the ball and cleared the danger to keep the scoreline level.

Mohammedan Sporting sat deep in their half to thwart any counterattacks. In the 73rd minute, Clayvin Bernardez was fouled by Shilton D'Silva but Bernardez's attempt from the freekick went way over the bar.

Gokulam Kerala complete stunning comeback

Dennis Antwi stole the limelight from Chencho Gyeltshen as Gokulam Kerala FC came from two goals down to earn a remarkable 4-3 win against RoundGlass Punjab FC in an I-League fixture.

Gyeltshen's quick-fire brace and a goal by Rupert Nongrum failed to safeguard Punjab's lead as Dennis Antwi struck twice and an own goal by Anwar Ali in the second half saw the Kerala outfit emerge victories at the VYBK Stadium.

In the third minute, Gokulam were handed a golden opportunity to take the lead when a cross from Mayakkannan found Sharif Mohammad inside the box. Off a free-header and with only the keeper to beat, the Afghan international headed it wide of goal.

ILeague 2021 Gokulam Kerala fight back to beat Punjab FC in sevengoal thriller Churchill Brothers hold Mohammedan

Action from Gokulam Kerala's win over Punjab FC. Twitter@ILeagueOfficial

Lalromawaia missed a sitter in the 11th minute when his shot earned an uncanny save from Kiran Limbu. From the resulting ball, the midfielder slotted into the side netting.

In the 17th minute, Chencho was slyly found by a cushioned header inside the box from a freekick and the Bhutanese international slotted into the bottom corner to give Punjab the lead.

Chencho had an opportunity to double the lead three minutes later, but with only the goalkeeper to beat he shot over.

Gokulam were denied their best chance of the match, courtesy Kiran Limbu's world-class save in the 24th minute.

Limbu made a miraculous save from a Philip Adjah tap-in after he was found by a low cross by Dennis Antwi.

Gokulam's loss was Punjab's gain. Off the resulting corner, Sanju Pradhan stole possession and ran towards goal. With Chencho alongside him, Pradhan played a quick pass to the Bhutanese forward as he slotted home the first time to double Punjab's lead.

Philip Adjah reduced the deficit for Gokulam in the 26th minute when his outside of the boot shot left Kiran Limbu bewildered.

The writing on the wall came in the 44th minute for Gokulam when Chencho ran towards goal and set up an onrushing Rupert Nongrum, who slotted it past a hapless goalkeeper to make it 3-1 for Punjab FC.

Having grabbed a solid two-goal lead, Curtis Fleming's team committed bodies in defence to see out the match.

Kiran Limbu came to the rescue for Punjab in the 53rd minute when he saved a penalty kick from Dennis after he was brought down inside the box.

In the 60th minute, Limbu once again put a strong hand to deny Philip Adjah's rocket shot from the edge of the box.

Punjab made two defensive changes shortly after, bringing Anwar Ali and Bikash Yumnam for Ashray Bhardwaj and Sanju Pradhan respectively.

In the 70th minute, Dennis headed home from close range off a Deepak Devrani free-kick to reduce Gokulam's deficit to one goal.

Two minutes later, Dennis used his physical prowess to latch onto a long ball, unleashing a half-volley that crashed into the back of the net as the scoreline read 3-3.

In the 75th minute, Anwar Ali scored an own goal after he headed the ball into his net to hand Gokulam the lead.

Gokulam did not relent and tried to even double their lead but Dennis failed to find the net in the 86th minute.

Debutants Sudeva Delhi get first win

Debutants Sudeva Delhi FC registered their first win of the Hero I-League, defeating All India Football Federation's developmental side Indian Arrows 3-0.

A goal apiece by Kean Lewis, Mahesh Singh, and substitute Shaiborlang Kharpan ensured the easy win for the Delhi-based club.

Sudeva Delhi, searching for their first win of the I-League, started the match on an attacking note. After keeping hold of possession, Kean Lewis was released onto the flank for a run into the goal but was called offside.

Two minutes later, Kean danced past a hapless Arrows defence, only to force the goalkeeper into an easy save from a tight angle. A freekick next by Kean was kept at bay by the Arrows custodian as Sudeva searched for the early goal.

Sudeva went on the offensive and played a high line, squeezing out the young midfield of Indian Arrows.

With a high line, Sudeva forced Arrows to sit deep and play on the counter. In the 30th minute, a long ball over the defence found Fela clear of his man. The nimble forward, however, could only shoot the ball over the bar as Sudeva survived a scare.

Kean, who orchestrated most of the attacks for Sudeva, put them ahead in the 40th minute when he capitalised on a mistake by Ahaan Prakash and found the net from a tight angle.

Sudeva continued their dominant performance and doubled their lead in the 49th minute. Mahesh Singh capitalised on yet another defensive error and slotted home from a tight angle.

The Indian Arrows seem to crack under pressure and gave away possession too cheaply. The high pressing style of play worked wonders for Sudeva as they raked up loose balls and kept switching play, making the young Arrows do all the defensive work.

In the 51st minute, Mahesh Singh's free-kick rattled the Arrows' post.

Kharpan finally put the tie to rest in the 66th minute when he netted home a free ball off a corner to give Sudeva a three-goal advantage.

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