I-League: Inconsistent Gokulam Kerala takes on confident Real Kashmir

Gokulam Kerala will look for its fifth win of the season when it hosts Real Kashmir in the I-League on Saturday.

Gokulam Kerala FC

Gokulam Kerala FC players go through their paces on the eve of their I-League clash against Real Kashmir FC.   -  I-League

Gokulam Kerala is easily one of the stronger sides in the I-League, but it has not quite been able to translate that reputation into performance. Take for instance its match against TRAU last weekend; it had to settle for a draw despite taking an early lead and dominating the match.

The host will have to come up with a better show if it has to return to winning ways in its match on Saturday. Its opponent, Real Kashmir, is no pushover.

Real Kashmir is not just one of the most inspiring stories coming out of Indian sport in recent times, it is quite a formidable side, too. The side is placed sixth in table with 12 points, while Gokulam has 14 points and is fourth but has played a match more.

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Fernando Santiago Valera's boys have to show more consistency if they want to mount a serious challenge for the title. After beating East Bengal 3-1 – perhaps its best win yet of the season – the side lost 1-3 to Punjab, defeated Churchill Brothers 1-0 and drew 1-1 with TRAU.

Real Kashmir FC

A win for Real Kashmir will see the side jump to the third spot on the I-League table.   -  I-Leagiue

 

Real Kashmir will start in a more confident frame of mind, having secured two successive wins. It had scored identical 2-0 wins over Indian Arrows and Aizawl, both away encounters. The arrivals of striker Robin Singh and defender Rena Salton – both loaned from ISL side Hyderabad FC – is a boost.

Kashmir's coach David Robertson said Gokulam was a tough rival. “They were built up as one of the favourites for the title this season,” he told Sportstar. “But they have had ups and downs this season, like us.”

Gokulam must be hoping that Saturday's match will be one of the ups. For that to happen, Marcus Joseph and Henry Kisekka, the two imports who have formed one of the most lethal combinations up front in the I-League, will have to continue with their scoring spree. Together they have netted 10 of their team's 12 goals.

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