I-League: Real Kashmir beat Minerva Punjab on debut, Gokulam hold NEROCA to draw

I-League: Real Kashmir beat Minerva Punjab on debut, Gokulam hold NEROCA to draw

first_imgDebutants Real Kashmir FC had a dream start to their I-League season as they registered a 1-0 victory over defending champions Minerva Punjab FC at the Tau Devi Lal stadium in Panchkula on Wednesday.Ivory Coast striker Gnohere Krizo scored for Real Kashmir late in the second half to stun the champions, who failed to even grab an equaliser and salvage a points.On the other hand, Gokulam Kerala FC held last season’s runners up NEROCA FC to a 1-1 draw in Imphal and registered their first ever points against the North Eastern side since their debut in the league.It was Gokulam who scored first through Baoringdao Bodo but NEROCA’s Eduardo Ferriera found the equaliser in the second half for a point off the match.After the day’s results, Real Kashmir are 4th in the I-League points table with three points in one match, Gokulam occupy the 5th position with two points from two games, Minerva have one point from two games and are placed 7th and NEROCA are languishing at the 9th spot with one point from two [email protected], in their very first match of @ILeagueOfficial history, grab all three points against reigning champions @minervapunjabfc. #MPFCRKFC #HeroILeague #ILeagueIConquer pic.twitter.com/4vOzB6U3IIHero I-League (@ILeagueOfficial) October 31, 2018Minerva Punjab vs Real Kashmir heralded Game Week 2 of the 12th I-League and understandably, Real Kashmir began defensively while Minerva looked to take on the attack after ending up with a 0-0 draw against Churchill Brothers in their opener.advertisementMinerva began the game with Irish coach Paul Munster effecting a couple of changes from the opener against Churchill Brothers. Youngster Makan Winkle Chothe got a start in place of Nongdamba Naorem and so did Ivorian striker Alexandre.Also read – I-League: Mahesh brace gives Shillong Lajong win over Aizawl, Minerva held by ChurchillScotsman David Robertson, the Real Kashmir gaffer opted to go in with a five-man backline consisting of captain Loveday Enniyana and the experienced Dharamraj Ravanan, who played for Chennai City last year.He also had his son Mason Robertson, Goan Brian Mascarenhas and local boy Muhammad Hammad to bolster his defence at the start of the game. Other Local Kashmiris who made the starting line-up were midfielders Farhan Ganie and Danish Farooq. The 6 ft 7 inches Ivorian Gnohere Krizo was the lone striker upfront with Bilal manning the Kashmir woodwork.Bilal Husain proved a decisive factor in preventing them from drawing level.#MPFCRKFC#HeroILeague #ILeagueIConquer pic.twitter.com/kVHiHEbqmTHero I-League (@ILeagueOfficial) October 31, 2018Minerva’s Ghanaian forward William Opoku had the first good chance of the game just before the quarter of an hour mark, when an excellent ball from Amandeep, from inside the Minerva half, found Opoku in the clear in the Kashmir box with a defender on his shoulder. Opoku trapped and fired only for Bilal to bring about the first of his many good saves on the day to deny Minerva the lead.Opoku combined well with youngster Makan Chothe on a couple of occasions but the youngster was once caught offside and on the other occasion took too much time with the ball.Minverva’s sense of urgency was evident at the beginning of the second half as in the first three minutes they had two excellent chances to score. In the first, Ivorian Alexandre’s powerful shot from inside the box was tipped over by Bilal and hit the bar and then Opoku’s powerful drive from outside the box brought about another save by Bilal.Minerva coach rang in the changes quick and fast, bringing in youngsters Nongdamba Naorem, Dilliram Sanyasi and Hitova Ayemi to inject more pace and flair into the game, but the Kashmir defence held solid.Then, in a subtle change of tactics, David Robertson brought in midfielder Vicky Meitei in place of Hammad, bolstering his midfield for a defender. The move paid dividends as in the 74th minute, quite against the run of play, off a free kick inside the Minerva half, Krozi got hold of the ball inside the Minerva box and turned and unleashed a powerful drive which beat Minerva goalie Bhaskar Roy at the near post to go in.The team from Jammu and Kashmir held on until the final whistle to get a winning start in the top-flight.GOLKULAM-KERALA PLAY OUT A DRAW Gokulam got their first-ever point against NEROCA since their debut in the I-League. (AIFF Photo)Gokulam Kerala FC broke their jinx against NEROCA FC on Wednesday as the Kerala-based side had been at the receiving ends twice in the last edition.advertisementNewly-appointed NEROCA FC boss Manuel Fraile induced two changes from the last match as Varney Kallon, who was injured, made a comeback in his usual position as well as Ronald made his first start of the season.On the other side of the pitch, Bino George made as many as four changes in the starting line-up too. He brought in Rashid K, Pritam Singh, Monotosh and Rajesh S who had a spectacular game against Mohun Bagan last day.The hosts came to the pitch at the back of a loss against East Bengal whereas the visitors travelled all the way to Imphal having gathered much-needed gusto against the Mariners.In the 13th minute, Subash Singh rushed into the box with a clear intention to find the back of the net but Ortiz came to his team’s rescue. Five minutes later, the NEROCA FC attacker got another opportunity to open the goalmouth but following a melee in the box, the chance got wasted for them.At the stroke of the half-hour mark, Malem Meitei put in a long ball for Aryn Williams who wasted what might have been the best opportunity for the hosts in the first half. The long ball by Meitei landed perfectly on the head of the Aussie but he failed to connect it on time which resulted in nothing more than a goal kick for the visitors.Bino George, in the 35th minute, introduced Bodo which played to be the perfect master-stroke by Gokulam Kerala FC manager. The Manipuri lad ripped the NEROCA FC defence apart within 10 minutes of coming on the pitch to shut the noisy crowd.Hero of the Match Ronald thanks the team for the hard-earned point against @GokulamKeralaFC.#NFCGKFC #HeroIleague #ILeagueIConquer pic.twitter.com/xMdAHaWOOlHero I-League (@ILeagueOfficial) October 31, 2018The move started from the back when skipper Musa rolled it to another local lad Pritam Singh, who flummoxed the NEROCA defenders to put in a nippy ball for an onrushing Bodo. Bodo made no mistake to rattle the back of the net leaving the goalkeeper Boerchio stranded.After the changeover, the hosts shifted the gear to push the Keralites on the backfoot. The Manipuri side tweaked in their strategies and started putting in more pressure on the Gokulam Kerala FC defenders.Their Nigerian striker Felix Chidi had a spectacular run down the left flank before bombarding a shot from inside the box which got thwarted by Daniel Addo. On the rebound, Aryn Williams tried to sneak in but his effort went abegging.Three minutes later, Pritam had a rusty challenge on Ronald Singh which eventually helped the hosts earn the hard-fought equaliser. Subash Singh glided a long free-kick to the far end of the penalty box and Tondomba headed it down to Malem whose side-footed volley was steered in beautifully by Brazilian defender Eduardo Ferreira to provide the NEROCA FC dugout with much-needed respite.Bino George, in Gokulam’s pursuit of the winning goal, brought in Suhair VP seven minutes to the final whistle but to no avail.advertisementNEROCA goalie Boerchio made some pivotal saves in the dying minutes of the match to secure their first point of the I-League 2018-19 season. Suhair, in the 89th minute, took a 360-degree turn and unleashed a shot from close but the goalie never let it go out of his reach.In the next minute, Pritam took his own time to slot in from outside the 6-yard box but Boerchio, thanks to his immaculate positioning, made it look a routine save to cut the scorer’s job short.Gokulam Kerala FC will host Chennai City FC in their next fixture on November 4 whereas NEROCA FC will fly to their neighbouring state for a clash against former champions Aizawl FC on November 7.last_img

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