Three points separate the top five teams after Real Kashmir FC ended Chennai City FC’s unbeaten run to blow the 2018/19 I-League wide open.
East Bengal FC and Mohun Bagan AC picked up wins, while NEROCA FC missed the chance gather three points at home.
Kisseka’s strike grabs three points for Mohun Bagan
FULL-TIME: Minerva Punjab FC 0- 1 Mohun Bagan AC
Mohun Bagan: Henry Kisseka (79′)
A 79th-minute strike by Henry Kisekka helped Mohun Bagan AC grab three points against Minerva Punjab FC at the Tau Devi Lal Stadium, Panchkula.
After a disappointing loss in the Kolkata Derby, the Mariners put up a strong display against the defending champions.
Mohun Bagan had a chance to take the lead early on the match, Dipanda Dicka’s strike hitting the upright. Later in the 16th minute, a quick one-two with Henry Kisseka allowed Dicka to find the target but was ruled to be offside.
Minerva goalkeeper, Arshdeep, led a charmed life. In the 40th minute, Bagan’s Egyptian midfielder, Omar El Hussieny, curled in a freekick from the left top side of the penalty area. Arshdeep parried the ball onto the post and the ball looped onto the crossbar and landed squarely on the goal line.
A few inches denied the visitors a deserved lead.
The Mohun Bagan defenders did well to restrict the Minerva attack, as the hosts did not have a single shot on target. However, at halftime, it was 0-0 and the game was hanging in balance.
Two minutes after the break, Arijit floated in a cross from the right-hand side, only for Dicka to completely miss his header, while Kisseka kicked the air instead of the ball in the follow-up.
Minerva coach Paul Munster threw in Makan Winkle Chothe in place of Yu Kuboki and the youngster managed to put the pressure on the Bagan defense with a couple of runs.
At the other end, Minerva’s goalpost came to the rescue of the hosts in the 71st minute. A cross by Ambedkar from the left was met with a glancing header by Sourav Das. Kisseka failed to control the ball, while Dicka attempted to poke the ball in. Arshdeep produced a fine save as the ball hit the woodwork and ultimately in the hands of the goalie.
In the 79th minute, Mohun Bagan got the winner. Omar put in a through ball to Kisekka inside the Minerva box on the left. The Ugandan was pushed further away from by his marker further. The forward unleashed a left-footer from a tight angle and put his team forward.
Bagan held on to the lead and collected the three points. Both teams are on 12 points, while the Kolkata team has a game in hand.
After the match, Mohun Bagan officials filed an official complaint to AIFF against the refereeing. “The match referees made some obnoxious decisions” read the statement, “…we were aghast as to why the decisions are only going against us.”
Mohunbagan lodged an official complaint against today's match referee! pic.twitter.com/in3qt45tZX
— The Mariners' (@MohunBagan) December 19, 2018
There have been some poor refereeing in the league, but it is safe to say that Mohun Bagan isn’t the only team at the receiving end.
East Bengal rally to beat Churchill Brothers
FULL-TIME: Churchill Brothers FC 1- 2 East Bengal FC
Churchill Brothers: Williz Plaza (3′); East Bengal: Jaime Colado (35′);
Laldrindika Ralte (56′)
East Bengal FC came from a goal down to beat Churchill Brothers FC at the Tilak Maidan, Vasco.
The win enabled East Bengal to take their points tally to 15 at second place. Churchill Brothers FC is at the 5th position with 13 points. This is the second consecutive loss for the Goan team.
The matchup used to a much-anticipated fixture in the past and this time around it did not disappoint. The match started brightly for Churchill Brothers as they went ahead within three minutes. A pass by Dawda Ceesay from the left flank found Willis Plaza in the box. The Trinidadian’s first touch took the ball away from the defender and shot goalwards.
East Bengal goalkeeper, Rakshit Dagar, should have done better with his effort. The ball squirmed under him and rolled across the goal line.
Churchill Brothers had the opportunity to double their lead in the 33rd minute. The East Bengal defense did not deal with a corner. The loose ball fell to Richard Costa and his shot from outside the box was close to the target.
East Bengal leveled the score in at the 35-minute mark. Lalrindika Ralte floated a freekick towards Jaime Santos
After the equalizer, the visitors looked the stronger team, but Churchill Brothers fancied a couple of opportunities to take the lead. A layoff by Willis Plaza set up Dawda Cessay for a shot from outside the box in the 56th minute which missed the mark.
The defense of Churchill Brothers was totally caught napping when East Bengal captain Laldrindika Ralte sent a curling free kick, which eluded the entire defensive line of Churchill Brothers before landing to the far corner of the nets, giving no chance whatsoever to their keeper Vigneshwaran.
In the 90th minute, East Bengal was reduced to ten men after their substitute Bali Gagandeep was ejected as referee Maria Arokia issued his second yellow card for rough play.
Indian Arrows stun Gokulam Kerala FC
FULL-TIME: Indian Arrows 1- 0 Gokulam Kerala FC
Indian Arrows: Amarjit Singh (66′) [P]
Indian Arrows stunned Gokulam Kerala FC 1-0 at the Barabati Stadium.
The young team made an early foray into the visitor’s box, only to be thwarted by the Gokulam defense. The hosts came close to scoring in the 32nd minute courtesy a long-range effort from Rahim Ali. The forward’s shot struck the outside of the bar with the goalkeeper beaten.
In first-half injury time, Ashish Rai curled in a left-footer from the right flank which fell inches wide off the post. While the referee awarded a goal kick, the replays suggested that the Arnab Das had got his fingertips to the ball to make the save.
The first half came to a close with no goals from both sides.
The second half began with Gokulam displaying a more positive intent. In the 63rd minute, a free kick by Felipe Castro into the Arrows penalty area was wasted by Daniel Addo’s misplaced header.
Soon at the other end, a foul inside the Gokulam box by Felipe Castro on Vikram Pratap Singh ended up in the hosts being awarded a penalty kick. The experienced campaigners giving the youngsters a chance to go in front.
Arrows captain Amarjit Singh stepped up and slotted in the team’s third goal of the I-League season in the in the 66th minute.
The hosts nearly gave up their lead in the 78th minute when a long ball found Ayeni Yinka outside the box with two defenders closing in. The Arrows goalie had a momentary lapse of reason and rushed out of his line. The layoff found Rajesh but could not find the far corner as Prabhsukhan Gill scrambled back to defend the goal.
With this win, Arrows is on seven points in 9th spot, while Gokulam
Real Kashmir end Chennai City’s unbeaten run
FULL-TIME: Chennai City FC 0- 1 Real Kashmir FC
Mohun Bagan: Kofi Tetteh (78′)
Real Kashmir FC handed table toppers Chennai City FC their first defeat of the season at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium, Coimbatore to throw the title race wide open.
The visitors created the first chance of the game in the third minute when a Surchandra Singh free-kick from the left flank fizzed past the defenders across the face of goal. Kashmir skipper, Loveday Pkechukwu, could not keep his effort down.
Both teams were restricted to efforts from outside the box, but some wayward finishing failed to test the goalkeepers.
In the 31st minute, Nestor was played into the Kashmir box courtesy a backheel from Sandro. The Spaniard’s effort trickled wide off the post.
The home team had 78% of the possession, but the physicality of the Kashmir players disrupted the flow of the Chennai midfield. The first half ended goalless.
The second half started with a shot on goal from both sides. Krizo and Manzi failing to hit the target for both teams.
Krizo nearly opened the scoring in the 62nd minute when he collected a throw into the Chennai box. His turn and finish rattled the crossbar.
Real Kashmir was given a lifeline in the 76th minute when Gourav Bora brought down Krizo inside the box. A needless challenge on the forward who was going away from goal towards the edge of the box.
Kofi Tetteh stepped up and slotted the ball to the keeper’s right, but the referee asked for the spot-kick to be retaken owing to the infringement into the penalty box by the Real Kashmir players.
Tetteh calmly sent the keeper to the wrong side again to give his team the lead in the 78th minute.
Chennai nearly stole a point in the last kick of the game. Edwin Vanspaul floated a ball into the Kashmir box. Pedro Manzi beat two defenders and headed the ball goalwards only to see his attempt ricochet off the crossbar.
The result takes Kashmir to second on the points table, just one point behind Chennai, who still lead with 18 points.
Missed penalty haunts NEROCA FC
FULL-TIME: NEROCA FC 0- 0 Minerva Punjab FC
Defending champions Minerva Punjab FC and NEROCA FC played out a goalless draw in Imphal’s Khuman Lampak stadium.
The home side outplayed the visitors in every department: 64% vs 36% possession, 12-5 in shots taken at goal, and 11-2 in corners. NEROCA even missed a penalty to miss out on a chance to improve their standings.
NEROCA had their first chance to score in the 7th minute. Subhash’s cross from the left fell to Katsumi inside the box, but his effort went straight to keeper
The Japanese was central to the NEROCA’s attacks, but was also on the receiving end of some hard tackling from the Minerva players.
Early in the 2nd half, Minerva had the opportunity to take the lead. A poor clearance by fell in the path of Prateek Joshi inside the penalty box. His left-footed effort was kicked to safety by Lalit Thapa, who was a wrong-footed.
There was sustained pressure from the home side, with Katsumi getting a good chance to give his team the lead. A floated ball from Malem was quickly closed out by the Minerva defense when the Japanese tried to control the ball.
The pressure paid off in the 76th minute when Manandeep handled the inside of the box and NEROCA was awarded a penalty. Chidi stepped up to the spot kick and blazed it over the bar.
Subhash and Katsumi created one last chance in injury time but the latter’s shot from just outside the box went straight into the hands of Minerva keeper Bhaskar Roy and that was that.
The result meant that NEROCA stayed at
Shillong Lajong’s problems deepen after another loss
FULL-TIME: Mohun Bagan AC 2- 0 Shillong Lajong FC
Mohun Bagan: Yuta Kinowaki (47′); Henry Kisseka (60′)
A banger and a goal-mouth scramble ensured that Mohun Bagan beat bottom-placed Shillong Lajong FC 2-0 at the Saltlake Stadium, Kolkata.
Lajong’s goalkeeper Phurba Lachenpa was under constant pressure as he put up an outstanding effort to keep a clean slate at halftime. The best coming in the 20th minute as a shot from Omar Elhusseiny produced an outstanding dive from the custodian.
The home side took the lead in the 47th minute. Abhishek Ambekar crossed in from the left, but a poor header by Dohling fell to Kinowaki. The Japanese who curled the ball beautifully into the net to make it 1-0.
Six minutes later, Shillong Lajong captain Samuel Lalmuanouia made a good run into the Bagan box. He set Samuel Kynshi for a shot but Sankar Roy pulled off a fine save to deny the youngster.
In the 60th minute, Mohun Bagan doubled their lead. A long ball drew Lachenpa out of his line but Kisseka beat him to the ball. Dicka found some space, but his scuffed shot was partially blocked by the Lajong defense. Some poor defending followed as Lajong tried to clear their lines but Kisseka’s slide ensured that the ball was bundled over the net.
Mohun Bagan secured their first home win of the season to jump to fifth place with 15 points, while Shillong Lajong suffered their seventh defeat from nine matches and are at the bottom of the pile.