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I-League 2021: Punjab FC move into top spot with win over Chennai City, Gokulam Kerala ease past TRAU FC – Sports News

With the result, the Punjab side have now displaced Churchill Brothers on the summit of I-League points table with 14 points from eight outings — one point ahead of the Red Machines, who have played one game less.

Kalyani: Punjab FC moved to the top spot in the I-League standings after notching up a comfortable 2-0 victory over Chennai City at the Kalyani Municipal Stadium.

With the result, the Punjab side have now displaced Churchill Brothers on the summit of I-League points table with 14 points from eight outings — one point ahead of the Red Machines, who have played one game less.

A solid performance in goal by Kiran Kumar Limbu, sandwiched between goals by Papa Diawara and Robert Nongrum ensured Curtis Fleming’s men picked up all three points.

The game opened with fast end-to-end football, but both sides were unable to get their efforts on target.

Punjab created the first big opening of the game in the 18th minute. Chencho flicked a long ball over his marker and forced a brilliant save from Chennai City’s Kabir Toufik.

Punjab kept pushing and reaped rewards in the 43rd minute. Souvik Das’ cross found Diawara just outside the six-yard box. The Senegalese held off a challenge from Tarif Akhand and volleyed his effort past a stranded Toufik.

Chennai City sought an immediate reply through a free-kick. Substitute Elvedin Skrijelj’s cross from distance was met by Demir Avdic, who yet again failed to hit the target. As a result, Punjab went into half-time with a 1-0 lead.

Punjab went in search for the second goal early in the second half and were close to finding it a minute after the restart. Toufik failed to hold on to RV Horipam’s flicked header from a long throw, causing chaos in the box. Luckily for him, his defence was there to bail him out.

On the other end, Chennai created a rare opportunity to equalise in the 59th minute. Demir Avdic won the ball off a defender before breaking in the box and sending a bullet strike towards goal. However, Kiran Kumar produced a magnificent save, ensuring his side’s lead was safe.

With their lead intact, Punjab FC kept attacking and came close again in the 84th minute. Diawara latched on to Beitia’s corner, but his header went over the goal. It did not matter much though, as finally, Curtis Fleming’s team scored four minutes later.

Aphaoba Singh broke on the counter, latching on to a long pass from Beitia before sending in a dipping shot. Toufik saved the shot but sent the rebound into the path of substitute Rupert Nongrum, who made sure he remained onside and duly put the ball into an empty net.

Gokulam Kerala beat TRAU

Gokulam Kerala FC kept alive their hopes of finishing in the top half of the I-League table before the next round by defeating high-flying TRAU 3-1.

An Emil Benny master-stroke (16th minute) in the first half coupled with Sharif Mukhammad’s (57th) and Zodingliana Ralte’s (86th) second-half strikes led the Vincenzo Annese-coached side to an easy win.

Komron Tursunov (87th) pulled a goal back for TRAU in the dying moments of the game.

Gokulam played their usual style of football by keeping possession and rotating the ball on the flanks from the very start of the match.

Crosses into the box for Dennis Antwi and Philip Adjah became a common sight as the Malabarians tried to take an early lead. In the eighth minute, Naocha Singh’s cross was plucked from the air by Dennis Antwi, but goalkeeper Amrit Gope made an astounding save to keep TRAU’s clean sheet intact.

ILeague 2021 Punjab FC move into top spot with win over Chennai City Gokulam Kerala ease past TRAU FC

Gokulam Kerala’s Sharif Mukhammad celebrates after scoring against TRAU. Twitter@ILeagueOfficial

With quick play around the box, Gokulam tried to unlock the opposition defence. While doing so, they were exposed to counter-attacks, a speciality of TRAU.

In the 12th minute, Joseph Olaleye’s cross from the right flank fell to Bidyashagar Singh outside of the box. The midfielder, however, tried to attempt the spectacular, hitting it the first time, but failed to test the opposition goalkeeper.

Where TRAU failed, a moment of magic for the Malabarains made them succeed four minutes later.

Vincy Barreto’s cross from the right flank found an onrushing Emil Benny inside the box. Benny volleyed it first time into the back of the net to give Gokulam the lead.

Although TRAU lacked creativity up front and Tajik forward Tursunov was isolated on more than one occasion, the best chance for them came in the 35th minute when Kishan Singh’s freekick found Shahbaaz on the far post.

Shahbaaz pulled the ball back for the TRAU attack force to take advantage, but neither Tursunov nor Bidyashagar were around to tap home from close range.

Gokulam were provided a golden chance to double their lead going into half-time but Dennis Antwi’s effort rattled the post and went out in the 38th minute after he was found by a long ball. The half-time score read 1-0 in Gokulam’s favour.

TRAU were dealt another blow in the 57th minute when Sharif Mukhammad was found unmarked inside the box after a Dennis Antwi flick-on from a corner kick found him inside the box. With ample space and time, Sharif fired from close range into the back of the net to double the Malabarians’ lead.

Meanwhile, TRAU seemed to suffer from complacency in defending, and on more than one occasion, almost gifted their opponents another goal. Upfront, chances for TRAU became rare as Tajik import Tursunov was unable to connect with the midfield.

In the 70th minute, Philip Adjah latched on to a long ball from the midfield and tried to chip the opposition goalkeeper. Amrit Gope, however, read Adjah’s intention and made a save to keep TRAU from falling three goals behind. Frantic minutes of play were witnessed next.

In the 86th minute, Zodingliana Ralte bundled home his chance from close range after Dennis Antwi was brought down inside the box, to give Gokulam Kerala FC a three-goal advantage.

Immediately in the very next minute, TRAU pulled a goal back as Tursunov’s shot from just inside the box whizzed past the opposition custodian and crashed into the net.

 

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Preet Kaur

Preet is our Tech wiz. With a Degree in Computer Science and English literature, she loves to research the latest of the tech world and is great getting to the heart of what’s going on in that arena. At times we need to put a damper on his opinions as they might come off a little strong. “NOT” Keep it rolling Preet, we love your thoughts and insight. e-mail: preetkaur@eaglesvine.com

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