I-League: Gokulam Kerala edge Churchill to make it six wins in a row

Gokulam Kerala players celerbate a goal against Churchill Brothers in the I-League on Saturday. Photo: Special arrangement

Vasco da Gama: Gokulam Kerala withstood a second half fightback to beat Churchill Brothers 2-1 in the I-Leagueat the Tilak Maidan in Vasco da Gama on Saturday. The win was Gokulam’s sixth on the trot and put them within two points of leaders Mohammedan Sporting, albeit having played a game more. The result stretched Churchill’s winless streak to six and left them fourth from bottom.

The home side made a quick start and were in fact the first to produce a chance of any note. A long ball played out from the back was brought down expertly by Martin Chaves in the Gokulam box. Unfortunately, as deft as the Uruguayan’s control was, his finish let him down as he fizzed the shot wide.

Gokulam made them pay for that in the ninth minute. Sourav’s through ball after drawing two Churchill defenders allowed Alex Sanchez the opportunity to shoot at goal, from a tight angle. He did not miss. Ten minutes later, they had a two-goal lead.

If the first had been about teamwork this was all about individual brilliance. Having picked up the ball from an innocuous pass 35 yards from goal, Abhijith K turned and took a shot at goal, curling his shot brilliantly into the far top corner. It was a wonder strike and completely out of the blue no less. Defeated more in spirit than anything else Churchill couldn’t wait for the halftime break to arrive soon enough.

That break did them some good, because minutes into the second half they had pulled one goal back. The goal was brought on purely by Gokulam’s inefficient defending in their own box though. Rather than letting an aimless cross from the right drift out, Vikas headed it straight back into the path of Faisal Ali, who slid a pass to Louis Ogana. Ogana passed the ball into the net.

Elhadji Karim Samb had a glorious opportunity to draw Churchill level in the 78th minute. He rose highest to a long Alent Colaco freekick, five yards from goal but watched his effort bounce off the crossbar. It was the last meaningful chance either side would conjure, as Gokulam diligently saw the game off to seal the points.

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