Gokulam Kerala’s bid for a hat-trick of I-League titles suffered a setback after it lost 1-2 to RoundGlass Punjab on Thursday, leaving it trailing the leader, Sreenidi Deccan, by 10 points.
Gokulam is third in the table, the second 1-2 loss in a row notwithstanding, while the win has helped the Punjab side catch up with Sreenidi Deccan, which is on 34 points.
It was a much-needed win for RoundGlass, having drawn its last two matches against Kenkre and Sudeva, two teams lying at the bottom of the table. After Pawan Kumar Drall’s own goal put the Punjab men ahead, Luka Majcen, the Slovenian striker who forced the error from the defender, more or less sealed the win with his strike in the second half.
Though Farshad Noor reduced the margin just three minutes later, the host’s attempts to force an equaliser ended in disappointment. Noor’s goal came off a fine pass from a fellow substitute, who had been set up by the hard-working Vikas Singh Saini.
A few minutes earlier, Majcen took advantage of the Gokulam goalkeeper Shibinraj Kunniyil’s failure to gather properly the header from Khaiminthang Lhungdim off a corner-kick taken by Juan Mera González.
RoundGlass was well served by its defence, with Hmingthanmawia Ralte, Mohammed Salah and Lhungdim doing excellent work. But Gokulam’s coach said that his team was denied three penalties by the referee.
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