Football Hero I-League

Mohammedan SC survive late scare against Kerala

KALYANI: In what was a closely fought match, Mohammedan SC beat Gokulam Kerala FC 2-1 at the Kalyani Municipal Stadium on Monday. John Chidi Uzodinma scored the opener for the Black Panthers and Hero of the Match Asheer Akhtar added a second as Sharif Mukhammad’s long-range strike late in the game only proved to be a consolation.

Mohammedan SC made three changes from their goalless draw with Neroca FC, bringing in Shilton D’Silva, Nikhil Kadam and John Chidi Uzodinma as they looked to return to winning ways. Gokulam Kerala returned with the same starting line from their goalless draw back in Round 5 against Real Kashmir.

It took almost ten minutes for the Black Panthers to build their first dangerous attack, and they immediately came inches from scoring the opener when Hira Mondal broke through and his bullet strike struck the top of the crossbar.

The opener finally came in the 41st minute and it was Mohammedan SC who took the lead. Faisal Ali received the ball outside the area and took a touch before releasing a through-ball which was blasted into the roof of the net by John Chidi. Vincenzo Alberto’s men tried to respond immediately but the Black Panthers held out and went into the break with a 1-0 lead.

Gokulam Kerala returned strongly in the second half and immediately created a couple of chances through free-kicks. In the 46th minute, Shubham Roy was unable to hold on to Sharif Mohammed’s dipping freekick. Luckily for the Mohammedan side, the loose ball was scraped out for a corner. Two minutes later, Roy punched out another free-kick and this time the rebound fell to Jestin, who volleyed his shot wide.

Sebastian Thangmuansang stretched in order to intercept Gani Ahmmed Nigam’s dipped cross from a free-kick from the left flank. But, all he did was set the ball perfectly into the path of Asheer Akhtar, and the defender made no mistake in putting it past Ubaid in the Kerala goal.

Nine minutes later, Sharif Mohammed pulled one back for Gokulam Kerala in the 76th minute. Dennis Antwi tried to find some space in the area but could only cut it back to Sharif. The Afghan defender then struck a curling long-ranger to beat Shubham Roy and give his side a ray of hope.

CB, RKFC draw: Table-toppers Churchill Brothers were held to their third successive draw in the Hero I-League 2020-21 after the Red Machines were stopped in their tracks by Real Kashmir FC in a goalless draw at the KBK in Kolkata on Monday.

This was the first-ever official football game played at the Kishore Bharati Krirangan in Kolkata. Honorable West Bengal CM Mamata Banerjee virtually inaugurated the Netaji Indoor Stadium in the afternoon, followed by Minister for Youth Affairs and Sports  Aroop Biswas inaugurating the Kishore Bharati Krirangan in the evening.

The top of the table clash was certainly embedded with fireworks right from kick-off as neither team held back in the opening minutes of the match. Real Kashmir FC started strong and their direct, high-pressing style of play early on overwhelmed the Churchill Brothers’ defence. Lukman Adefemi had an opportunity in the fourth minute to head the ball towards goal but could not test the opposition custodian.

With the points shared, Churchill Brothers continue to remain at the top of the Hero I-League table with 13 points in seven games, while Real Kashmir and Mohammedan Sporting are right on their heels with 10 points and a game in hand each.