I-League: Kisekka, Joseph fire Gokulam Kerala off to a winning start against NEROCA

Goals from Henry Kisekka and Marcus Joseph either side of the half-time whistle gave Gokulam Kerala a winning start to its I-League season in Kozhikode.

Kisekka (extreme right) celebrates scoring the opening goal against NEROCA FC.   -  AIFF MEDIA

The needle efforts of two of its foreign recruits – Henry Kisekka and Marcus Joseph – resulted in Gokulam Kerala FC to open its I-League campaign with a 2-1 win over Neroca FC at the EMS Corporation stadium here on Saturday.

The home side, much to the merriment of the huge throng – numbering well over 31,000 – dominated the proceedings in the contest after what looked to be a hesitant start. But once Kisekka and Joseph got going, there was no mistaking the route in which the match was going, the duo creating havoc on the rival defence time and again.

The 30-year-old Kisekka and Joseph in the Gokulam frontline kept the Manipuri side's defence guessing with their flashy runs down the flanks and had a couple of chances to score within the first quarter hour.

However, neither Kisekka nor Joseph were unable to convert these openings that came their way, as the former fired a volley over the bar and then the latter disappointed with a wayward shot from close, missing the target by a few inches.

The moment that all its fans were waiting for came about close to the half-time break, when Kisekka finally got his act right. Taking control of a cross from the right, Kisekka held control and then took a turn to his right before burying the ball into the rival net.

Four minutes after the restart, Joseph, too, was successful as he headed in a cross, again from the right flank, to double the home side’s lead. Gokulam continued to dictate terms over the proceedings here again, but in the 88th-minute was surrendered a goal when Taryk Sampson, taking advantage of a defensive lapse, scored off a beautiful back volley.

Four minutes of injury time was added but there was no further change to the final scoreline as the Kerala side regrouped well and played out the time.

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