I-League: Gokulam Kerala FC makes short work of Lajong

The Kerala outfit posts its maiden win in this season against Shillong Lajong.

Gokulam Kerala FC's Gani Ahmed Nigam scores the first goal for the team against Shillong Lajong on Sunday.   -  K. RAGESH

Last season, Gokulam Kerala FC had to wait till its fourth game for its maiden win. There was no change in the script a year later.

The young club, playing only its second I-League, defeated Shillong Lajong 3-1 at the Corporation Stadium on Sunday. Bino George’s boys did that in front of another excellent holiday crowd.

The coach must indeed be a relieved man. It was a most convincing victory for Gokulam, which came into the match without two of its key men — captain Mudde Musa and Arjun Jayaraj.

The Kerala team held the upper hand in the first half as it enjoyed better possession and created more chances. In the third minute, Gokulam threatened to open the scoring, but V.P. Suhair’s cross towards the goal was smartly headed away by Lajong’s Aibandha Kupar Dohling.

Needless tackle

More chances came for both sides, but nothing happened, until an innocuous looking tackle by Novin Gurung against Guilherme Batata proved costly for Shillong. The resultant free-kick was taken by Batata himself. After a deflection inside the box, it was flicked neatly by Daniel Addo into a waiting Gani Ahmed Nigam, who tapped the ball into his chest before driving it into the top of the near post, with two minutes left for interval.

Gokulam pressed even harder in the second half and went 2-0 up in the 56th minute. Antonio German drove the short corner, taken by Batata, ferociously in, a deflection off Samuel Kynshi notwithstanding.

Ten minutes later, S. Rajesh’s volley from close in, after being fed from the left by Gani, and virtually sealed the match. Lajong did pull one back in the 78th minute. Phrangki Buam did well to beat the Gokulam custodian after receiving a fine through-ball in side the box from Sheen Sohktung.

The result: Gokulam Kerala FC 3 (Gani Ahmed Nigam 43, Antonio German 56, S. Rajesh 66) bt Shillong Lajong 1 (Phrangki Buam 78).

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