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I-League 2018/19 Roundup: Matchday 9 [14/12-16/12]

The Big Fish: East Bengal FC players celebrate their victory over Mohun Bagan AC.  Photo Courtesy:  @eastbengalfc
The Big Fish: East Bengal FC players celebrate their victory
over Mohun Bagan AC at the Salt Lake Stadium.
Photo Courtesy: @eastbengalfc

East Bengal triumphs over Mohun Bagan in the Kolkata Derby. Chennai City FC remains on top of the I-League, but Real Kashmir FC and NEROCA FC are closing in.

Landanmawia and Jobby Justin star for East Bengal in the Kolkata Derby

FULL-TIME: East Bengal FC 3- 2 Mohun Bagan AC

East Bengal: Laldanmawia Ralte (17′; 61′), Jobby Justin (44′); Mohun Bagan: Azharuddin Mallick (13′), Dipanda Dicka (75′)

East Bengal FC won the bragging rights of the Kolkata Derby after two and a half years, as they defeated Mohun Bagan 3-2 at the Salt Lake Stadium, Kolkata.

A sending off, yellow cards, scuffles, volleyed goals, refereeing mistakes, and a near-comeback marked the big match of the weekend.

Mohun Bagan drew first blood in the 13th minute. Omar Elhusseiny skipped past Lalram Chullova and sent in a cross from the left flank. East Bengal keeper Rakshit Dagar could not cut out the danger and Azharuddin Mallick ran into the unmarked space to finish off in front of an empty net. 1-0

East Bengal equalized four minutes later. Jobby Justin teed up Landanmawia and the Mizo slotted it home. There were calls for offside and the replays showed that it was a tight call. Really tight.

East Bengal was patient on the ball and controlled the tempo of the game, while Mohun Bagan played long balls to their twin strikers up front – Kisseka and Dicka – without much success.

In the 44th minute, East Bengal made it 2-1, courtesy an acrobatic side-volley from Jobby Justin off a Laldanmawia layoff. The Red and Gold brigade celebrated wildly in the stands as both teams went in for the break.

In the second half, Mohun Bagan was dealt with a double blow. Kingsley Eze was shown a second yellow for a reckless foul on Justin in the 59th minute. The forward’s deft nutmeg on the Mohun Bagan skipper was met with a rash tackle, leaving the referee with no choice but to book the defender.

Laldanrika stepped up to the resulting free-kick and put the ball into the box. Landanmawia ghosted in and headed the ball goalward only for Sankar Roy to get a hand to the ball and parry the ball away. However, Landanmawia was alert enough to pounce on the rebound and make 3-1 for East Bengal in the 61st minute.

The 10-man Mohun Bagan team went all out to restore their pride. The Mariners put the East Bengal under pressure and in the 75th minute, Dipanda Dicka laid on a pile driver to make it 3-2.

With the Mohun Bagan playing a high line, Jobi Justin had the chance to put the game to bed in the 86th minute. A long ball from Cullova was flicked over the last defender. The East Bengal forward could not put it past Sankar Roy.

Mohun Bagan continued to pepper the East Bengal penalty box with crosses, but the Red and Gold defense stood their ground and claimed their first derby win after seven attempts.

East Bengal moves to fifth place with 12 points, while Mohun Bagan is in seventh place with 9 points.

Click Here to watch highlights of the game.

Chennai City remain unbeaten after goalless draw

FULL-TIME: Minerva Punjab FC 0- 0 Chennai City FC

Chennai City maintained their unbeaten run in the I-League, thanks to their Spanish goalkeeper Santana who saved a penalty in injury time.

The table toppers played out a goalless draw against Minerva Punjab FC in Chandigarh.

The hosts had the first clear chance of the game within the first 10 minutes. A Lancine Toure heading wide off a set-piece routine. A few minutes later, William Opoku’s shot brought out a save from Santana.

At the other end, Chennai had two chances in the last five minutes of the first half. Nestor caught Minerva on the break and found Manzi inside the box whose strike was off target. Minutes later, Sandro played Charles inside the Minerva box, but the midfielder’s strike was thwarted by Bhaskar.

In the end, Minerva had the opportunity to end Chennai’s unbeaten run, when the referee awarded them a penalty for a foul inside the box with only five minutes of added time left.

Kuboki stepped up to take it but a weak effort brought about a regulation save by keeper Santana.

The result takes Chennai to 18 points at the top spot, while Minerva stays at fifth with 12 points.

Click Here to watch highlights of the game.

Katsumi Yusa scores the fastest goal in I-League history

FULL-TIME: NEROCA FC 2- 1 Churchill Brothers SC

NEROCA FC: Katsumi Yusa (1′; 87′); Churchill Brothers: Kahlid Aucho (37′)

Two goals from Katsumi Yusa: One in 13 seconds and another three minutes from time helped NEROCA FC end Churchill Brothers’ unbeaten record at Imphal.

A poor clearance from Churchill Brothers’ Mohanraj inside the box landed straight into the legs of Areyn Williams, who floated a curling cross towards the penalty area. The Japanese winger produced a diving header to put the hosts ahead.

Katsumi now holds the record of the fastest goal in I-League history, beating a six-year-old record held by James Moga of Pune FC. The previous record was 14 seconds.

Churchill restored parity when a free kick from Dawda Ceesay was headed in by Kahlid Aucho in the 37th minute.

The second half began with NEROCA trying to get the lead but a defensively strong Churchill Brothers FC Goa denied any clear chances. The hosts came close in the 61st minute, only for Churchill’s custodian James Keethan make an outstanding save off a shot from Felix Chidi

The winner came in the 87th minute, Katsumi scored his second through a header that came off an Aryn Williams cross to the hosts three points.

NEROCA FC is in third place with 14 points, four shy of table toppers Chennai City FC. Churchill Brothers are behind them in fourth with 13 points.

Click Here to watch highlights of the game.

Goalless between Indian Arrows and Aizawl FC

FULL-TIME: Indian Arrows 0- 0 Aizawl FC 

Indian Arrows held Aizawl FC to a 0-0 draw at the Barabati stadium in Cuttack. Both teams had chances to score but were unable to convert them.

Although Aizawl FC had more possession of the ball, the Arrows team had the better chance to walk away with three points.

The Arrows again showcased some good passing skills but their lack of creativity inside the box let them down. Aizawl did try making a few attempts but none of them was close enough to unsettle Arrows goalkeeper Prabhsukan Gill.

The home team had better chances to take the lead in the first half. Rahim Ali failed to find the back of the net after a long ball from Anwar Ali.

Early in the second half, the visitors should have taken the lead. In the 50th minute, the Cote D’Ivoirian forward Zikahi Dodoz missed a sitter from right in front of the goal from inside the box. Two minutes later, Lalkhawpuimawia missed fluffed his lines from a Kromah cross.

After more display of poor finishing, Indian Arrows had the chance to gain all three points in the 81st minute. A Boris Singh shot hit the woodwork and denied the hosts the lead.

Aizawl FC is in 9th with six points, while Indian Arrows are in 10th with four points.

Click Here to watch highlights of the game.

Off-field drama overshadows Kerala-Kashmir tie

FULL-TIME: Gokulam Kerala FC 1- 1 Real Kashmir FC

Gokulam: Pritam Singh (20′); Real Kashmir: Surchandra Singh (69′)

The fixture between Gokulam Kerala FC and Real Kashmir FC in Kozhikode was overshadowed by antics the day before the match.

The members of Real Kashmir had accused that their players were abused and manhandled by the officials of Gokulam Kerala FC. They have also accused that they were not provided with team bus and training facilities

The team has sought police protection and have threatened that they may not even participate if they are not provided with adequate security.

On the other hand, Gokulam Kerala FC has issued a clarification giving the entire sequence of events and alleging poor behavior and irresponsibility on the part of Real Kashmir FC.

In the world of Twitter, here’s a couple of examples of how the two teams saw the incident:

As for the match, Pritam Singh opened the scoring for Gokulam in the 20th minute.

The visitors came back strongly in the second half to find the equalizer in the 69th minute when Surchandra Singh scored his third goal of the season from an acute angle.

Following the result, Real Kashmir FC is on the second spot with 14 points, while Gokulam is in seventh place with 10 points.

Click Here to watch highlights of the game.

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