Vasco: Ugandan forward Henry Kisekka's clinical finish helped title contenders Gokulam Kerala FC beat Indian Arrows side by a solitary goal in an I-League match at the Tilak Maidan here on Friday.
The Arrows gave the in-form Gokulam a mighty scare, particularly after the Malabarians had to play the last 15 minutes of the match with 10 men.
Gokulam coach Valera played both Kisekka and Trinidadian captain Marcus Joseph upfront while Arrows' new coach Shanmugam Venkatesh also began with a regulation 4-4-2, with Vikram Partap Singh and Aman Chetri upfront.
Gokulam started strongly and both Joseph and Kisekka missed a couple of sitters in the opening 20 minutes of the game. The Arrows, however, found their grooves by then and Vikram Partap was impressive with his surging runs down the right.
By the time the first half ended, Gokulam were left wondering what they needed to do to break down the young Arrows as their goal was being manned more-than-ably by the young Samik Mitra, who also had a confident first 45 minutes.
After the breather, and against the run of play, Gokulam took the lead within five minutes of resumption. A long ball found Kisekka on the top of the Arrows box on the right. The Ugandan got away from his markers in a flash and neatly placed the ball at the left-hand corner of the Arrows net.
In the 76th minute, a wonderful Gokulam move resulted in a Joseph header deflecting off an Arrows defender and going in, but Samik brought off a brilliant save.
Five minutes later, Etienne brought down an onrushing Aman Chetri after the young forward had dispossessed him in-front of goal and was headed towards it. With just the keeper ahead, the referee had no option but to give marching orders to the burly Trinidadian centre-back.
Gokulam have won both their opening games and now sit pretty on top of the table with six points.