Gokulam Kerala FC kept their hopes alive of finishing in the top six with a stellar performance against Tiddim Road Athletic Union (TRAU) football club in the I-League at the Kishore Bharati Krirangan. Gokulam won the match 3-1 to condemn TRAU to their second defeat of the season.
Emil Benny scored in the first half to give TRAU the lead after which Sharif Mohammad and Zodinglania Ralte scored in the second to seal a win for Gokulam. TRAU’s Komron Tursunov scored just three minutes before the end of regular time but it only turned out to be a consolation goal.
Gokulam got down to trying to dismantle the TRAU defence early in the match. Vincy Barreto’s cross from the right flank found an onrushing Emil Benny inside the box in the 16th minute. Benny produced a moment of sheer brilliance and 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 Komron nor Bidyashagar were around to tap home from close range.
Gokulam had the chance to double their lead three minutes later but Dennis Antwi’s effort rattled the post and went out after he was found by a long ball. The half-time scoreline read 1-0 in Gokulam’s favour.
TRAU were dealt another blow in the 57th minute when Sharif Mohammad was found unmarked inside the box after Antwi’s 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 his team’s lead.
Gokulam Kerala FC continued to dominate possession and create chances and were helped by TRAU being sloppy in defence. In the 70th minute, Philip Adjah latched onto 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, and immediately in the very next minute, TRAU pulled a goal back as Komron Tursunov’s venomous shot from just inside the box whizzed past the opposition custodian and crashed into the net to make the scoreline read 3-1.
Leading by two goals, Gokulam Kerala FC frustrated their opponents by committing bodies in defence and defending as a compact unit. Unable to play through them, TRAU tried to utilize the wings for crosses but failed to create anything meaningful.
Phalguni Singh almost pulled one back for TRAU after a magical solo run but could not convert in the end. Thus, at the end of the game, the scoreline read 3-1 in Gokulam Kerala FC’s favour as the Malabarians registered their third win of the season.