I-League: Gokulam Kerala, Aizawl share spoils

Aizawl found the early lead through Abdoulaye Kanoute but Marcus Joseph bridged the deficit for Gokulam Kerala in the second half as the two teams earned a point each.

Gokulam Kerala is sixth on the points table, just below fifth-placed Aizawl.   -  Twitter/@AizawlFC

Finally, Gokulam Kerala took a point off Aizawl FC.

But, the host wouldn’t exactly be pleased with the 1-1 draw with its Mizoram rival at the Corporation Stadium on Saturday night. It wasted too many chances and should have been able to win by a comfortable margin.

Still, it must be relieved that it could at least put an end to its embarrassing run of defeats to Aizawl in the I-League. Played Four. Lost four. That was the record before this match.

With 20 minutes left, it had seemed that it could well be Played five; Lost five. But skipper Marcus Joseph, with his third goal of the season, saved his team the blushes, much to the delight of a noisy crowd of over 13,000.

The captain was well-positioned inside the box to receive the excellent pass from substitute K. Salman, who duped the defence after a fine run down the left flank. Joseph did well to slot the ball home.

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For once, Aizawl’s excellent goalkeeper Lalremuata was beaten. He had a memorable night, though; he had saved a penalty earlier in the game.

Aizawl’s goal had come almost against the run of play. In the 14th minute, Paul Ramfangzauva gave a long, optimistic cross towards the right of the box. Abdoulaye Kanoute came charging in and unleashed a devastating volley into the near post.

Stung by the unexpected goal, the Gokulam men were desperate to retaliate. Six minutes later, they nearly did.

The tireless Nathaniel Garcia came up with another great run down the right. The Trinidadian broke into the goal area and when found himself too close to the goalkeeper, he played the ball back to the imposing figure of Henry Kisekka.

The Ugandan striker was up to the task too, but his shot towards the goal was handled by Aizawl defender Joseph Adjei. He was red-carded and sent off, so the visitors were reduced to 10 men as early as the 20th minute.

The resultant penalty kick, taken by Joseph, though stunned the crowd. It was too feeble and straight at Lalremruata, who pushed it down to the ground and to safety.

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