I-League: Gokulam Kerala begins title defence with win

Churchill, which had more shots on the goal, came closest to drawing parity when Bryce Miranda tapped a cross towards the goal.

REPRESENTATIVE IMAGE: Ronald Singh was brought down inside the box and Sharif converted the resultant penalty to score the all-important goal in the 16th minute.   -  Reuters

Gokulam Kerala FC rode on its captain Mohammad Sharif's strike to beat Churchill Brothers 1-0 and begin its title defence in style on the opening day of the I-League at the Kalyani Stadium on Sunday.

Gokulam took an early lead and defended its post sturdily to keep the aggressive Churchill at bay.

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Ronald Singh was brought down inside the box and Sharif converted the resultant penalty to score the all-important goal in the 16th minute.

Churchill, which had more shots on the goal, came closest to drawing parity when Bryce Miranda tapped a cross towards the goal.

An ever-alert Gokulam keeper Rakshit Dagar dived to his left to avert the danger in the 22nd minute.
Gokulam was unlucky to miss out on its second goal as Thahir Zaman's long range shot hit the crossbar in the 47th minute.

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Churchill's constant pressure could not fetch it the much-desired equaliser in the second half. Gokulam strikers were hard done by luck as they missed the target narrowly on two more occasions. 

Results:

At Mohun Bagan ground: TRAU 0 drew with Indian Arrows 0; At Kalyani Stadium: Gokulam Kerala 1 (Sharif 16) bt Churchill Brothers 0.

Roundglass Punjab 2 (Kurtis Guthrie 27, A. Aphaoba Singh 90) bt Rajasthan United 0.

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