An unbeaten Chennai City FC hold fort at the top, Real Kashmir impress and East Bengal continue their free fall down the table at the end of Matchday 7.
All square between Gokulam and Churchill Brothers
FULL-TIME: Gokulam Kerala 1- 1 Churchill Brothers SC
Gokulam Kerala: Arjun (36′); Churchill Brothers SC: Willis Plaza (5′)
Churchill Brothers continued their unbeaten run with a 1-1 draw against Gokulam Kerala at the EMS Corporation Stadium, Kozhikode.
Following their win against Kolkata giants Mohun Bagan, the Goan team stayed true to form and started in the front foot.
Churchill drew the first blood in the 5th minute. Trinidadian forward Willis Plaza connecting with a pass from Lamgoulen Hangshing.
Plaza now leads the I-League goalscoring charts with six goals to his credit.
Gokulam nearly scored the equalizer soon after. A pass from Antonio German to Rajesh could not be directed into the back of the net.
Gokulam’s efforts were rewarded when Arjun received the ball inside the box and shot the equalizer for the hosts in the 36th minute.
Both the teams hit a total of 15 shots in the first 60 minutes of the game, but the game petered out after the hour mark.
The dying minutes of the game saw both teams scrambling for the winner. A couple of saves and missed opportunities ensured that both teams walk away with a point apiece.
Churchill Brothers are in third place with 10 points, while Gokulam is in fifth place with nine points.
Njoku pierce Arrows defense to hand Minerva a win
FULL-TIME: Minerva Punjab FC 1- 0 Indian Arrows
Minerva Punjab FC: Philip Njoku (76)
Defending champions Minerva Punjab FC struck a late goal to beat Indian Arrows by a solitary goal at the Tau Devi Lal Stadium, Panchkula.
Philip Njoku scored the all-important goal to give the home side all the three points.
Both teams had two shots each on the opposition goal in the first half though Minerva had the closest chance. Ghanian forward William Opoku failing to find the back of the Arrows net.
After the break, in the 49th minute, Rahul KP’s attempt at goal was saved by Arshdeep to deny the visitors the lead.
Nigerian Philip Njoku put the ball in the Arrows net in the 59th minute. But the referee ruled that he had handled the ball and the goal was disallowed.
Rahul KP narrowly missed a fine chance for Indian Arrows to take the lead in the 68th minute. when his attempt after getting the better of Lancine Toure and Caicedo Rodriguez missed the target from a handshaking distance in the 68th minute.
Minerva finally broke the deadlock in the 76th minute when Philip Njoku took an advantage of a defensive error to poke in the eventual winning goal for the home side.
The win takes Minerva to 11 points after 7 matches to take them to 2nd place. Arrows are at the bottom with 3 points from 5 matches.
Gordillo cancels out Norde’s wonder goal
FULL-TIME: Mohun Bagan AC 1-1 Chennai City FC
Mohun Bagan AC: Sonny Norde (50); Chennai City FC: Nestor Gordillo (81′)
Chennai City FC extended their unbeaten run in the I-League by holding Mohun Bagan to a 1-1 draw in an entertaining I-League clash at the Salt Lake Stadium.
In a lively encounter, the first chance of the game fell to the hosts when Henry Kisseka cut back for Mahata inside the box but the shot fell straight at Santana. Meanwhile, Elhussieny shot over the bar from a Mohun Bagan corner. At the other end, Nestor Gordillo beat Arijit Bagui to set up Manzi but the ball was too wide for the Spaniard.
After a goalless first period, Sony Norde lit up the stadium with a magnificent strike from 21 yards. Norde collected the ball on the left wing. He waltzed past Edwin Vanspaul and Gaurav Bora and curled the ball into the top corner of the net past a hapless Santana.
Mohun Bagan 1 – Chennai City 0 after 50 minutes.
The hosts got a major reprieve in the 74th minute when Sandro’s header came off the upright. Seven minutes later, Chennai’s Spanish midfielder Nestor Gordillo equalized in the 81st minute.
The draw ensures that the visitors remained unbeaten after seven games to stay top of the table with 17 points. Mohun Bagan remain fourth with nine points from six games.
NEROCA beat Shillong in a pulsating encounter
FULL-TIME: Shillong Lajong FC 1- 2 NEROCA FC
Shillong Lajong FC: Phrangki Buam (49′); NEROCA FC: Felix Chidi (33′); Subash Singh (83′)
NEROCA FC edged out Shillong Lajong in the third Northeastern derby at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium, Shillong.
In a lively encounter, the visitors were on the attack from the first minute when a powerful shot by Subash hit the top of the woodwork. Lajong’s midfield controlled the game, but the lack of creativity kept them away from creating any scoring chance.
NEROCA opened the scoring in the 33rd minute when Felix Chidi headed home a cross from Malem Metei.
The second half began with Lajong continuing with their attacks and their efforts were soon rewarded when a pass from substitute Mahesh Singh was received by Phrangki Buam to score the equalizer in the 49th minute. Lajong nearly took the lead in the 79th minute but Mahesh Singh failed to convert the chance.
NEROCA scored the winner in the 83rd minute when Subash Singh latched on to a flick from Felix Chidi and placed the ball beyond the reach of Neithovilie.
The Manipuri team is in seventh place with eight points while the home side finds themselves at the 10th place with four points.
East Bengal slide further down the table
FULL-TIME: East Bengal 0-1 Minerva Punjab FC
Minerva Punjab FC: William Opoku (77′)
East Bengal lost a third consecutive game against defending champions Minerva Punjab at home. The first half did not see any genuine goal-scoring opportunities created and both teams were on par.
The hosts started off brightly in the second half. However, the momentum soon changed in Minerva’s favour after a couple of substitutions.
Minerva Punjab took the lead in the 77th minute when they broke on the counter and a cross from the left wing by Moinuddin found Opuku who scored with a first-time finish.
A late chance fell to Jobby Justin, but the hosts couldn’t affect a result in their favour.
With the win, Minerva Punjab are in second position and are back in the title race.
Real Kashmir see off Aizawl at home
FULL-TIME: Real Kashmir FC 1- 0 Aizawl FC
Real Kashmir FC: Bazie (31′)
Debutants Real Kashmir FC registered a win over former champions Aizawl FC at the TRC Turf Ground, Srinagar.
Ivorian midfielder Bazie Armand struck the match-winner in the 30th minute to help the home side register their third win.
The home side started on the front foot from the start as the Aizawl keeper, Gurpreet, was kept busy. Ivorian striker Krizo’s snapshot required a save while a Surchandra Singh shot hit the side netting.
Aizawl nearly opened the scoring in the 25th minute. A cross by Albert was tipped onto the bar by the Kashmir goalie. Liberian striker managed to Ansumanah Kromah lobbed the ball over the goalpost.
In the 31st minute, the deadlock was finally broken. A corner by Surchandra Singh was headed in by Bazie to give the home team the lead.
Aizawl nearly equalized early on the second half. Albert’s goal-bound header was blocked by Mason Robertson in the Real Kashmir defense. For the home side, Krizo had the chance to put the game to bed. Two headers off set pieces missed their mark.
Real Kashmir jumps to fourth in the league standings with 10 points from six games. Aizawl FC remains in ninth place with five points from seven games.
The League Table