Football Hero I-League

Gokulam Kerala steam past Neroca to move up the table

KALYANI: Gokulam Kerala FC got back to winning ways, defeating Neroca FC 4-1 at the Kalyani Municipal Stadium here on Sunday to take their tally on the Hero I-League table to six points. A Jiteshwor Singh own goal and strikes by Philip Adjah, Jestin Geroge, and Mohammad Sharif penalty were enough to hand the Malabarians three points and put them in the top half of the Hero I-League table. Neroca pulled one goal back through Songpu Singsit in the dying embers of the match.

It seemed like Gokulam Kerala FC were out to prove a point after defeat in their last fixture to Aizawl FC and the Malabarians made a strong statement by hammering three quick goals past high-flying Neroca in the first half.

Constant badgering of their opposition’s defence was meant to open up a chance sooner or later. Little did the Malabarians know that it would be through an own goal in the 23rd minute. A well-worked corner routine saw a whipped cross from the left flank and in an attempt to clear the ball, Neroca’s Jiteshwor Singh headed it into his own net.

The opening goal spurred Gokulam Kerala FC and in the 31st minute, Dennis Antwi found Philip Adjah in the box and the Ghanian smashed the ball into the net from close range to double Gokulam’s lead. A third goal soon came in the 39th minute when Jestin George chested a Deepak Devrani free-kick into the net after a deflection.

In the 86th minute, Dennis Antwi was brought down inside the box and from the resulting penalty, Mohammad Sharif smashed home to put Gokulam four goals ahead. But just two minutes later, Neroca reduced their deficit after a brilliant strike by Songpu Singsit, that saw him turn his marking defender inside out inside the penalty area and put the ball into the net through the keeper’s legs.

But despite all of Neroca’s valiant efforts, the Manipur-based club was outplayed by Gokulam Kerala.

Churchill Brothers win: Table-toppers Churchill Brothers steered four points clear of second-placed TRAU FC after the Goan outfit steamed past Sudeva Delhi FC 2-0 at the Mohun Bagan Stadium in Kolkata on Sunday. In a match largely dominated by Fernando Varela’s men, first-half strikes by Luka Majcen and Bryce Miranda proved enough as Churchill grabbed their third win of the season and put distance between themselves and the chasing pack on the Hero I-League table.

Churchill Brothers took the lead in a quite extraordinary fashion. Off a corner kick, Zuniga held up play and used his physical prowess to shield the ball, before laying a pass for Luka Majcen who smashed the ball home.

Next, a classic counter-attack goal for the Red Machines gave them a two-goal advantage. In the 35th minute, Kean Lewis ran clear on the right flank and cut inside to release a curling effort that went out of bounds. Immediately after, Churchill Brothers cleverly used the right flank and Luka Majcen ran clear towards goal before releasing a pass for Bryce Miranda, who bundled the ball into the net. (Picture & report: AIFF Media)