Kalyani, April 19: Gokulam Kerala FC matched the longest unbeaten streak of 17 matches in the I-League to finish Phase 1 top of the table by easily beating RoundGlass Punjab FC 3-1, here at Kalyani Stadium.
Equaling the Churchill Brothers record set 12 years ago, Gokulam Kerala FC had an accurate header from Aminou Bouba, a clean finish from Luca Majcen and an own goal from Joseph Yarney help them increase their points to 30. RoundGlass Punjab had their consolation in an own goal. by Aminou to stay in third position with 23 points after his third loss.
Both teams approached this game on an aggressive note. RoundGlass Punjab ran early from the left. Trying hard, Travis Major had a timely and bold tackle from Gokulam Kerala defender Mohammed Jasim to clear the ball for a corner kick.
It didn’t take long for Gokulum Kerala to make his presence felt with an attempted goal. Jithin MS found himself at the top of the area and with a clear look at the bow only to have his attempt missed.
RoundGlass Punjab at the other end had Major try from the left to test goalkeeper Rakshit Dagar with maximum stretch to keep the ball out at the far post.
Ten minutes into the game and the best chance fell to Gokulam Kerala when Muhammad Uvais, from the left, changed the width of the field to find Emil Benny inside the area and cleared and the latter controlled the ball and had a pass just to have the test. cleared off the goal line.
Luck once again deserted Gokulam as they were denied another goal-line save. This time Jourdain Ronaldo Fletcher’s shot was cleared off the corner kick line.
The resulting corner kick gave the Kerala side the breakthrough. Defender Aminou Bouba rose above a couple of defenders to head him past Jaspreet Singh, resulting in Gokulam Kerala FC taking the lead.
Gokulam Kerala pushed forward with counterattacks that unsettled opponents. Luka Majcen once worked his way through the defense and proved to be a handful for RoundGlass Punjab, which ended with Freddy Lallawmawma bringing him down in a desperate attempt and earning the first yellow card of the match.
Punjab, who occupied midfield for most of the session, had some half-hearted attempts. Meanwhile, Kurtis Guthrie made his cross from the left float dangerously into Gokulam’s box, however striker Aminou Bouba used his height to head brilliantly.
Punjab opened the second half with two consecutive Guthrie attempts. First, Major pushed deep into the box and jumped for Guthrie, who ended up missing at close range. Almost immediately, Guthrie was furious when his effort was cleared by defenders once again, resulting in a corner kick.
RoundGlass Punjab took advantage of the corner kick and leveled the score, scoring an own goal when Bouba Aminou, losing his sight and direction, ended up heading into his own net from a Kean Lewis corner kick to make it 1-1.
Against the tide of the game, Gokulam Kerala took the lead from a counterattack. Fletcher, winning the ball from Freddy, took advantage of an opportunity that he didn’t want to miss. Retaining possession throughout the one-on-one, he smoothly switched to Majcen, who edged past Jaspreet Singh for her 13th goal of the season to make it 2-1 for Gokulam Kerala.
Gokulam Kerala doubled the lead with an own goal to make it 3-1. A free kick won by the right, Bouba had, at the second post, go up and connect. The attempt was good enough to create confusion in an ensuing melee. What resulted from then on was defender Joseph Yarney cutting the ball, leaving goalkeeper Jaspreet without a chance.