RoundGlass Punjab FC registered their fourth win in a row in the I-League 2021-22 season after defeating Manipuri outfit TRAU FC by 1-0 at the Naihati Stadium, here on Friday.
Striker Kurtis Guthrie scored the decisive goal of the game in the 35th minute. With this win, Punjab FC regained third position on the league’s standings and now stands four points behind table toppers Gokulam Kerala FC and two behind Mohammedan SC.
The first half kicked off with Punjab FC on the front foot, with Freddy Lallawmawma testing the keeper as early as the third minute. Five minutes later, Maheson Singh drove towards goal and fired in an effort that went just wide of the post.
The pressure continued to mount on the TRAU defence as Guthrie’s shot on the turn was narrowly off target in the 21st minute, and the Englishman almost got on the end of a headed pass inside the penalty box from Travis Major, only to be denied by a last-second intervention.
With ten minutes to play in the first half, Guthrie opened the scoring as Punjab FC’s dominance bore fruit. The ball was won high up the pitch and laid off to Joseba Beitia, who produced an inch-perfect cross from the right flank for Guthrie to calmly head home and take his scoring tally for the season to double figures.
Guthrie almost doubled his tally in the 41st minute after getting his head to a cross from the left side but was denied by rival custodian Amrit Gope. At the break, the scoreline read 1-0 in favour of RoundGlass Punjab FC.
The club picked up from where it left off in the second half, with Freddy’s curling effort from the edge of the penalty area flying just over the crossbar in the 48th minute. Five minutes later, he again won the ball close to the opposition goal and unleashed a drive that stung Gope’s palms once more.
TRAU looked to catch RoundGlass Punjab on the break on a couple of occasions, and goalkeeper Jaspreet Singh had to be alert to keep out a shot from Bishorjit Meitei in the 68th minute. Substitutes Rupert Nongrum and Aphaoba Singh were brought on as well, with the former being denied his third goal in three games in the 88th minute, as his shot from six yards out was saved.
In the end, the match drew to a close with the scoreline reading 1-0 in favour of RoundGlass Punjab FC. In their next match, the club will face table toppers Gokulam Kerala FC on April 19, which will be the final game for both teams in the league’s first phase.