Gokulam FC's woes continue in 1-0 loss to Minerva Punjab

A Bali Gagandeep goal sealed the tie as Minerva Punjab FC defeated Gokulam Kerala FC 1-0 in their I-League encounter on Saturday.

With the win, Minerva Punjab FC stays in the second spot with 16 points from seven matches.   -  Twitter

Gokulam Kerala FC's miserable form at home continued as it went down by a solitary goal to Minerva Punjab FC at the EMS stadium here on Saturday. Bali Gagandeep scored the all-important goal in the 18th minute. Chencho Gyeltshen again provided the decisive pass from the right flank which was booted in by Gagandeep. 

The goal came against the tide as the home team looked better in the initial exchanges and had more shots at the rival goal.  But for Gokulam Kerala FC, its inherent weakness in converting the chances remained unanswered even with the presence of Odafa who got clearance from AIFF to play. But the Nigerian looked rusty and was slow, while the Minerva defence, which regrouped after early lapses, didn't give him any space nor opportunities inside the box.

The Nigerian was one of the four changes made by Gokulam coach Bino George. However, the changes didn't materialise as Gokulam faded away after an encouraging start. For all its dominance in the first half, it had its best chance in the second minute when Vicky Meiti's shot was blocked by goalkeeper Rakshit Dagar and the rebound was shot out by Odafa.

Minerva, however, was the better side after the break. The Gokulam goal had a few close shaves. A howler from goalkeeper Bilal Hussein Khan in the 79th minute nearly resulted in the second Minerva goal. Bilal's throw to Emmanuel Chigozie was intercepted by Logo Dogbo and the striker entered the box and shot towards the goal. 

However, the back pedaling Bilal managed to push the ball away for a corner. Minerva had another chance in the 88th minute when Chencho broke into the box and beat goalkeeper Bilal with a low shot but the ball was cleared by a defender.

Minerva, with this win, stays in the second spot with 16 points from seven matches but has played one match less than leader East Bengal, which has 17 from eight.  Gokulam continues to languish at ninth spot with four points from seven I-League matches.

The result: Minerva Punjab FC 1 (Bali Gagandeep 18) bt Gokulam Kerala FC 0.

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