After their quarrel with the Gokulam Kerala officials about the training facilities on Friday, it must not have been in the most peaceful frame of mind the Real Kashmir players prepared for their I-League encounter.
That, however, didn’t stop them from staging a fine comeback, after being a goal down for much of the match, to take one point off Gokulam here at the Corporation Stadium on Saturday. The 1-1 draw means they haven’t lost in their last four matches.
It also means Gokulam hasn’t won in its last three games. In front of another good crowd, it did seem the host could return to its winning ways though, but it had to pay the price for an attempt to slow down the game a bit in the second half, rather uncharacteristically.
Gokulam had taken the lead in the 20th minute through Pritam Singh, who did well to beat an advance ‘keeper Bilal Khan, after being given an excellent through ball by Arjun Jayaraj. It had all begun with a throw-in from his own half by Dimple Bhagat to Joel Sunday, who duped a couple of defenders before finding Arjun towards the right.
Gokulam ensured that it kept the lead going to the break. The second half began with Real Kashmir looking keener to attack, while the host showed a tendency to withdraw a little to its own territory.
In the 69th minute, the visitor finally found the equaliser. It did it with some style too, as Surchandra Singh, from just inside the box, drove powerfully past the diving custodian, Arnab Das Sharma.
Substitute Ritwik Kumar Das, from the centre of the ground, had passed the ball to Abedendo Kofi Tetteh, who then gave a fine cross to Surchandra. The Manipuri midfielder showed great presence of mind, taking time to control the ball before unleashing that splendid left-footer of his.
With 14 points, Real Kashmir has maintained its third position, while Gokulam (10) has jumped a place to move to sixth.
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