Mohammedan Sporting boost survival chances with 2-1 win over defending champions Gokulam Kerala
Updated: February 13, 2023 10:22 am IS
Kolkata (West Bengal) [India], 13 February (ANI): It’s hard to keep your head up when no results are coming despite working hard game after game. But Mohammedan Sporting coach Kibu Vicuna and his boys did, and eventually the black and white brigade here at Kishore Bharati Krirangan defeated Gokulam Kerala 2-1 on Sunday to boost their chances of surviving in the I-League. On the other hand, the defending champions strayed further from dreaming of scoring a hat-trick of I-League championship victories.
After a long time, Mohammedan Sporting was the better team in all respects. They had the lion’s share of possession (61 percent) and all the changes worked. Despite falling behind in the 14th minute of the game, Mohammedan never looked down and out. They kept creating chances up until the lemon break. In the second half they clearly dominated the action.
Vicuna made a double substitution after the break. He brought Faisal Ali and Abhisek Halder into midfield which changed the character of the game. Strikers Abiola Dauda and Marcus Joseph combined well from the start, but now received more balls. From the 54th minute it looked like a matter of time for a quarter of an hour before Mohammedan scored. At this point, Joseph had an overhead kick on target, but right into the hands of Gokulam’s goalie Shibinraj Kunniyil. The very next minute, Sheikh Faiaz crossed from the left and a mistake by a Gokulam defender sent him to the far post to Dauda. Kunniyil managed to pull it out for a corner.
Kunniyil saved Mohammedan again in the 61st minute. Nikola Stojanovic was brought down right in front of the Gokulam box and Joseph’s powerful grounder went past the five man wall. But Kunniyil dived to the right to stop it.
Despite his narrow lead, he wasn’t able to do much against Dauda’s calm header in the 67th minute. Halder found him near the left post with a nice chip from outside the box. It was 1:1. Gokulam was barely catching his breath as Nikola’s right footer narrowly missed the goal and landed on the roof of the net.
There was no turning back for Gokulam. Nikola would have dealt with the problem himself in the 88th minute, but he was very unlucky. He took a short corner from the right, came back to regain the ball and unleashed a booming left foot. A falling Kunniyil could only get his right leg out. Despite that touch, the ball went in but ended up hitting the crossbar for another corner.
The winner finally fell in the second minute of stoppage time through hero of the game Kevin Lewis. It’s poetic justice that he scored this overwhelming winner, as he was a thorn in Gokulam’s left flank throughout the match. Lewis fired a right footed shot from 20 yards. Kunniyil launched himself into the air but couldn’t even get close as the ball went through the near post.
Gokulam had a couple of real chances throughout the match. That too in the first quarter of an hour. Tanmoy Ghosh took a well-planned corner in the 13th minute and kept the ball on the ground to find Farshad Noor. But his mighty grounder got distracted.
Gokulam’s goal came from the resulting corner, which was again a short corner. Right winger T Shijin crossed in the penalty area to Hakku, who headed in. Mohammedan goalie Mithun Samanta got a hand, but it wasn’t enough.
Mohammedan Sporting now sit ninth on the Hero I League table with 20 points from 17 games, while Gokulam Kerala sit fourth with 24 points from 16. (ANI)