I-League 2021: Gurpanthjeet Singh's solitary goal sees Indian Arrows pick up first win; Aizawl held by Sudeva

The AIFF's developmental side displayed heroic defending and goalkeeping after Gurpanthjeet's goal in the 26th minute to beat the Black Panthers in the first-ever encounter between the two sides in the I-League.

Press Trust of India February 14, 2021 18:51:54 IST
I-League 2021: Gurpanthjeet Singh's solitary goal sees Indian Arrows pick up first win; Aizawl held by Sudeva

Indian Arrows players celebrate after scoring against Mohammedan. Twitter@ILeagueOfficial

Kolkata: Gurpanthjeet Singh scored the only goal of the match as Indian Arrows recorded their first victory of the I-League season with a 1-0 result against Kolkata giants Mohammedan SC at the Vivekananda Yuba Bharati Krirangan, on Sunday.

The AIFF's developmental side displayed heroic defending and goalkeeping after Gurpanthjeet's goal in the 26th minute to beat the Black Panthers in the first-ever encounter between the two sides in the I-League.

Mohammedan Sporting started the game with high-intensity football, trying to press the Indian Arrows for any mistakes. They created the first opening of the game in the fourth minute.

However, Nikhil Kadam's low cross from inside the area was well blocked by Amandeep Singh. Minutes later, Shilton D'Silva, himself a former Arrows cadet, came close to opening the score, but his long-ranger was wide of the Arrows' goal.

Mohammedan continued their attacks but were unable to find their target as Faisal Ali's swerved long-range effort went high over the Indian Arrows goal in the eighth minute.

The Indian Arrows settled into the game and created a chance in the 12th minute as Vellington Fernandes' cut back header from Gurkirat Singh's cross was landed just behind Harsh Patre.

Mohammedan came inches from scoring in the 20th minute when John Chidi connected to Hira Mondal's long throw, but his powerful header struck the post.

Despite all their attacking pressure, the Black Panthers lacked the finesse in front of goal.

The first goal finally came in the 26th minute as Arrows struck the opener against the run of play. Gurkirat Singh's freekick bounced right in front of the keeper, forcing a weak save from Shubham Roy. The ball looped in the air and the tall Gurpanthjeet Singh out-jumped the defenders to nod the ball over the line.

Shocked by the goal, Mohammedan went full-throttle on the Arrows. However, the Arrows were able to thwart them and break on the counter with Vellington Fernandes. Fuelled by a goal from the last game, the midfielder attempted an audacious lob from distance, trying to catch the keeper out. However, his effort was wide of the target.

Mohammedan came close again in the 39th minute, but Faiaz's header from Manoj's early cross landed on the roof of the net. Jose Hevia's side was unable to test the Indian Arrows custodian Ahaan Prakash up until the 44th minute, when Gani Nigam drew a save at the near post.

Venkatesh Shanmugan's side headed into the break with their lead intact.

Mohammedan showed much better-attacking display immediately after the break. Faizal Ali's cross from the right-wing was met by Gani Nigam at the near post, but his connection was not strong enough to beat Ahaan Kumar.

Aided by solid defending and a number of substitutions, Indian Arrows continued to hold Mohammedan out. Mohammedan kept pushing forward, and this created a gap in the back for the Arrows to exploit, with around 10 minutes to go.

Taison Singh's early low cross pulled out the keeper of position, and reached Shreyas Ketkar, who could not hit the empty net from a very narrow-angle.

Surviving by the skin of their teeth, Mohammedan continued to attack the Indian Arrows goal and created another opening in the 89th minute.

However, Sanjib Ghosh's volley from Hira Mondal's shot did not have enough power and went straight into the hands of a grateful Ahaan Prakash.

Hira Mondal did not give up and came again in the 92nd minute. But his shot from his weaker foot was safely handled by Hero of the Match Ahaan Kumar.

The Arrows had a couple of chances in injury time, but were unable to churn anything out of them, as they ran the clock out and secured their first victory of the season.

Aizawl held by Sudeva

Former champions Aizawl FC failed to score from a penalty kick as they were held to a 1-1 draw by Sudeva Delhi FC in an I-League match at the Kalyani Municipal Stadium.

Aizawl had only themselves to blame in a match where they dominated possession and had scoring chances, including the penalty kick in the second half.

They had numerous scoring chances, but poor finishing let them down as Alfred Jaryan's second-half strike cancelled out Kean Lewis' goal in the first half, leading both teams to share points.

Aizawl FC did not waste time in attacking and went hunting for an early goal.

As early as the sixth minute, Aizawl FC's Brandon Vanlalremdika cut inside the box and unleashed a curling shot but it was saved by the opposition goalkeeper Rakshit Dagar.

Sudeva Delhi FC relied mostly on counter-attacks. In the 19th minute, much against the run of play, Sudeva opened scoring. A long throw from the right flank fell to Kean Lewis, who volleyed it the first time to hand Sudeva the lead.

Stunned by the goal, Aizawl FC committed more bodies in attack to find the equaliser. However, the plan almost backfired in the 29th minute when Sudeva were once again given an opportunity to find the net.

This time, Naocha Singh missed from hand-shaking distance after he was put straight on to goal by a Naorem Mahesh Singh pass.

Aizawl FC almost scored the equaliser in the 51st minute, but poor finishing once again cost them dear. Ramhlunchhunga robbed the Sudeva defence of possession and sent in a low cross for Lalremsanga inside the box. There was ample space and no pressure, but Sanga fluffed his shot and failed to convert from close range.

Sudeva then sat back and let their opponents have the ball. The Delhi side committed bodies in defence and soaked pressure.

It took a moment of magic to breach the Sudeva defence and in the 75th minute and none other than Aizawl skipper Alfred Jaryan proved his worth. After a cross by Brandon was cleared by Sudeva defence, Alfred latched onto a loose ball and sent a powerful shot from outside of the box that gave the goalkeeper no chance.

Aizawl FC were awarded a penalty in the 78th minute after a handball inside the box, but Malsawmtluanga missed his chance with Rakshit Dagar producing a top save.

Updated Date:

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