I-League: Gokulam Kerala shares spoils with East Bengal after 1-1 draw

East Bengal's Victor Perez earned his team a point with a coolly-taken penalty in the first half after Marcus Joseph had given Gokulam Kerala an early lead.

Jaime Santos Colado

Jaime Santos Colado's spot-kick earned East Bengal a point against Churchill Brothers.   -  AIFF MEDIA

Gokulam Kerala (sixth) and East Bengal (fourth) retained their positions on the I-League standings after an eventful 1-1 draw at the EMS Stadium in Calicut.

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Full-time: Gokulam Kerala 1-1 East Bengal

90+3' OFFSIDE! Lalromawia plays a neat one-two with Henry Kisseka and finishes off the move, but the linesman's flag on the far side has gone up, much to Lalromawia and Gokulam's dismay. It was a wonderfully constructed move, bamboozling the East Bengal defence and its goalkeeper, and it'd have been a sensational finish to the match for the Gokulam Kerala. Amiri was also shown a second yellow and red subsequently for dissent, which the home team is down to nine men now!

90' We are into four minutes of stoppage time.

89' K. Mirshad dwells on the ball and gets himself into trouble with Nathaniel Garcia hunting him down, he then puts the ball out to touch.

86' YELLOW CARD! Victor Perez, who's standing over East Bengal's deadball, is shown the yellow card for time wasting.

81' SAVED! Gokulam Kerala's Salman Kalliyath produces a curling effort that's destined for the top corner. K. Mirshad, in the East Bengal goal, picks the flight of the ball expertly and tips it over the crossbar. He then goes down holding his leg, seemingly affected by cramps. Good football all around!

78' East Bengal's Jaime Santos Colada tries to find Juan Gonzalez with a throughball. He's overhit it a fraction and the ball's out for a goal-kick.

Substitution for East Bengal: Brandon Vanlalremdika OFF, Abhijit Sarkar ON

72' CROSSBAR! Juan Gonzalez goes on a solo run from the halfway line and goes for an audacious chip over C.K. Ubaid in the Gokulam Kerala goal. Difficult to say if he meant that or if it was an intended cross for Ansumana Kromah, who was lurking at the backpost.

70' Good vision shown by Abhash Thapa to play in Ansumana Kromah, who's strayed offside.

Substitution for East Bengal: Marcos Espada OFF, Ansumana Kromah ON

62' SAVED! Nathaniel Garcia with an inch-perfect cross for Marcus Joseph, who doesn't get the connection he was looking for with his header and it's an easy save for K. Mirshad in the East Bengal goal. Big chance, that, for the ten-man Gokulam Kerala!

Substitution for Gokulam Kerala: Rahul K.P. OFF, Lalromawia ON

57' CROSSBAR! The ball breaks for East Bengal's Victor Perez on the edge of the area. He tries to curl it into the top corner, and it's flush on the crossbar before bouncing away for a goal-kick.

55' Great piece of defending by Andre Ettienne to deny what would have been a straightforward chance for Marcos Espada. Samad Ali with a quality cross from the right, but Ettienne shows good awareness and positioning to clear the ball away.

Substitution for Gokulam Kerala: Muthu Mayakkannan OFF, Salman Kalliyath ON

52' OHH! Hendry Kisseka plays a nearly perfect throughball to find Marcus Joseph, overhits it fractionally and K. Mirshad comes off his line and collects the ball.

49' RED CARD! Huidrom Singh has been shown a second yellow card for a foul on East Bengal's Juan Gonzalez. Gokulam Kerala's down to ten men.

46' Marcos Espada gets the second half, East Bengal playing from left to right.

We are ready for the second half. As things stand, both teams would retain their positions on the I-League table.

Half-time: Gokulam Kerala 1-1 East Bengal

45+2' K.P. Rahul picks out Nathaniel Garcia inside the area. Garcia creates a bit of space and tries to drill a low shot, but it's blocked.

44' Andre Etieenne plays a perhaps needless longball with no runners to attack it behind the East Bengal defence. Possession ceded cheaply again. And we go into two minutes of stoppage time at the end of the first half.

38' A few passes going astray and both teams committing a few soft fouls, taking away the rhythm of the match. East Bengal's Brandon Vanlalremdika has seen plenty of the ball amid all that, in the last five minutes, and has delivered a couple of crosses without any of his team-mates in a position to attack them.

33' Gokulam Kerala's Henry Kisseka wins a free-kick in the attacking half. It's delivered by Moiranmayum Ashok, but it's slightly overhit and the ball rolls out for a goal-kick.

31' East Bengal's slowly growing into the game. It's had 54 per cent possession and it's exerted control of the match in the last 10 minutes.

26' OFFSIDE! Hendry Kisseka can't keep himself onside as Andre Ettienne picks him out with a longball as the East Bengal defence steps up in unison.

22' 1-1! Victor Perez slots home the penalty to draw East Bengal level. Huidrom Singh lunged in as Juan Gonzalez tried to dribble past him, the referee had no hesitation in pointing to spot. Victor picked his spot and despite Ubaid Kadavath guessing right, the ball fizzes past him into the left corner.

18' Gokulam Kerala's Andre Ettienne finds Henry Kisseka with a vertical pass with the outside of his right foot. Kisseka squares it for Marcus Joseph, but Abhash Thapa cuts out the danger as K. Mirshad collects.

15' A decent spell of possession for East Bengal, which is trying to settle down after a poor start to the match.

12' WOODWORK! Marcus Joseph hits the post following a swift counter-attack! Henry Kisseka tees up Marcus, whose low, left-footed shot pings off K. Mirshad's left-hand post as he rushed off his line.

Substitution for East Bengal: Gurwinder Singh OFF, P. C. Rohlupuia ON

7' GOAL! Marcus Joseph drills a low shot into the corner to put Gokulam Kerala 1-0 up. East Bengal's goalkeeper K. Mirshad is at fault there, allows the ball to squeeze through his palms.

3' Good start to the match by Gokulam Kerala. Nathaniel Garcia delivers a cross from the right, Marcus Joseph connects with it but it's blocked and the ball goes behind for a corner. East Benga's well-organised to clear the corner away.

Kick-off: Gokulam Kerala gets us underway, playing from left to right in the first half.

The players have made their way out to the middle. The customary handshake is complete and we are almost ready for kick-off. Oh, wait: there's a floodlight failure at the EMS Stadium. However, that shouldn't affect the start of proceedings in Calicut.

Gokulam Kerala hosts East Bengal with a chance for either team to move up the I-League standings. Currently sixth on the table, Gokulam can move up to fourth with a win over East Bengal tonight. The Kolkata-based club, meanwhile, has the chance to move up to third should it secure three points at the EMS Stadium.

Starting line-ups

Gokulam Kerala: Ubaid Kadavath (GK), Dharmaraj Ravanan, Andre Ettienne, Haroon Amiri, Moirangmayum Singh, Huidrom Singh, Muthu Mayakkannan, Nathaniel Garcia, Marcus Joseph, Henry Kisekka, Rahul K.P. (Substitutes: Atuheire Kipson, Salman Kalliyath, Wungngayam Muirang, Vigneshwaran Baskaran, Shubil Muhammed, Lalromawia, Rajesh S.)

East Bengal: K. Mirshad (GK), Gurwinder Singh, Abhash Thapa, Samad Ali Mallick, Mehtab Singh, Kassim Aidara, Juan Mera Gonzalez, Victor Perez Alonso, Brandon Vanlalremdika, Marcos Espada, Jaime Santos Colado (Substitutes: Lalthuammawia Ralte, Kamalpreet Singh, Abhijit Sarkar, Boithang Haokip, Pintu Mahata, Ghanefo Kramah, P. C. Rohlupuia)

Preview

Gokulam Kerala FC will be looking to shake off its recent woes as it hosts Quess East Bengal FC at the EMS Stadium in Kozhikode on Tuesday.

In its last five matches, Gokulam has only managed to pick up five points (one win, two draws and two losses). East Bengal, on the other hand, is on a four-match unbeaten run in the league.

The Malabarians, however, have struggled to find consistency as they currently find themselves languishing at seventh place on the table with 18 points. They have a game in hand, though, and could leapfrog to third place with a win tomorrow.

“East Bengal is a competitive team, a club with a lot of history and recognition. The two foreign additions have empowered the team and it will be a really difficult team for us,” said Fernando Santiago Valera, head coach of Gokulam Kerala.

Weighing on his team’s struggles this term, he further added, “I think that the lack of success in front of goal has penalised us a lot. We are a team that generates good football and many possibilities to get a goal and with different players involved, not only our forwards. Maintaining the same philosophy is what makes us strong as a team and the progression of the players is clearly visible.”

While there’s plenty of work that remains to be done in the East Bengal camp, a couple of steps have been made in the right direction by new coach Mario Rivera. New signing Victor Perez has been a breath of fresh air in midfield, allowing Juan Mera more freedom on the flanks and Jaime Santos Colado to bring his natural game in the number 10 position.

“The objective is to try and win all matches for the remainder of the season”, said an upbeat Mario Rivera Campesino, head coach of East Bengal.

However, the Spanish gaffer isn’t oblivious to the threat that Gokulam possesses as he added, “Gokulam are a good team. They have a quality squad with great foreigners and besides that, they know this league inside out. It’s going to be a tough one for us.