Gokulam stuns Lajong for maiden home win

Gokulam Kerala FC came from behind twice to script a memorable 3-2 victory over Shillong Lajong in the I-League on Sunday.

Man-of-the-Match Mahmood Al-Ajmi of Gokulam Kerala FC in action against Shillong Lajong on Sunday.   -  K. RAGESH

Gokulam Kerala FC played delightful football and scored three beautiful goals to stun Shillong Lajong on Sunday. Its fans, after watching it defeat the Meghalaya side 3-2 at the Corporation Stadium, would have wished their team played such classy football earlier in the I-League.

For the host, which started the match as the bottom-placed team, it was its finest hour after making its I-League debut a couple of months ago. Incidentally, its first match was against Lajong, which it lost 0-1 at Shillong.

Gokulam exacted its revenge in style as it came from behind twice to script a memorable victory. It had conceded the lead in the 25th minute when Abdoulaye Koffi, Lajong’s danger man from Ivory Coast, made good use of an excellent through ball from Samuel Lalmuanpuia and sloppy defence from the home team.

Gokulam, however, continued to press forward and enjoyed more possession. It still trailed by that goal at half-time, though.

But, in the 52nd minute, its hard-working and talented midfielder from Bahrain Mahmood Al-Ajmi, who would later be named Man-of-the-Match, curled his free-kick in to score the equaliser. Just a minute later, however, a free-kick at the other end, taken by Lalmuanpuia, saw South Korean Oh Juho score with a towering header to restore Lajong's lead once again.

Some 20 minutes later though, Gokulam’s tireless striker Kivi Zhimomi made it 2-2 as he gave the finishing touch to a remarkable move down the centre that featured T. V. Mohammed Irshad, Al-Ajmi, Ugandan Mudde Musa and K. Salman; eight passes were made before that goal was scored.

But, Arjun Jayaraj, coming in for Santu Singh, came up with an even more stunning goal to give Gokulam its maiden victory at home. He began a great run from inside his own half and beat the Lajong defence and goalkeeper Nidhin Lal with a splendid solo effort to seal a memorable win for his side.

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