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I-League 2018/19 Roundup: Matchday 12 [04/01-06/01]

I-League Matchday 12
Laying the foundation of a title challenge: Real Kashmir FC’s Mason Robertson celebrates scoring the first of his two goals against Mohun Bagan AC at the Salt Lake Stadium in the 2018/19 I-League.
Photo Courtesy: @ILeagueOfficial

Pedro Manzi can’t stop scoring hat-tricks as Chennai City continue to stay on top of the 2018/19 I-League. Sony Norde scored a worldie, only for Mason Robertson to come up with his own as Real Kashmir climb to second. Meanwhile, Katsumi Yusa continues to inspire NEROCA’s title challenge.

Manzi scores another hattrick to put Chennai on top

FULL-TIME: Chennai City FC 3- 2 Gokulam Kerala FC

Chennai City: Pedro Manzi (7,59′,80′); Gokulam Kerala: Mudde Musa (17′); Joel Sunday (38’)

Pedro Manzi does not do braces. Riding on the Spaniard’s third hat-trick of the 2018/19 I-League season, Chennai City FC beat Gokulam Kerala FC 3-2 at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium, Coimbatore.

Chennai City opened the scoring in the seventh minute. Sandro’s corner kick delivery was hit on to the turf by Pedro Manzi and the ball looped over the Gokulam goalkeeper and defender on the line to give the hosts the lead.

Gokulam equalized in the 17th minute. A freekick delivery in the box was met with a glancing header by Rajesh. The ball bounced off the upright and Mudde Musa reacted first to equalize from close range for the visitors.

In the 38th minute, Gokulam went ahead. A cross from the right from Abhishek Das was adjudged to have been handled by Marton Eugene. The midfielder’s attempt to head the ball landed on his arm.

Joel Sunday stepped up to the spot and shot to the keeper’s right. Santana produced a good save, but the Nigerian reacted quickest to the rebound and scored his third goal of the campaign.

The match reached a flashpoint in the first minute of injury time. Chennai City’s substitute, Pandiyan Srinivasan was involved in a scuffle with Gokulam’s Arjun Jayaraj.

Pandiyan blocked Jayaraj’s pass and barged into the forward. The Gokulam man reacted with a kick on the substitute’s thighs. Pandiyan got to his feet, but Jayaraj displayed a further lack of sportsmanship by pushing the Chennai player away. The two were locked into a scuffle and the referee had to send off both players.

With both teams down to 10-men, Chennai came up on top. In the 59th minute, Manzi equalized for Chennai. Nestor floated the ball into the Gokulam box, the Spaniard shrugged off Abhishek Das and headed the ball past Kunniyil.

Manzi completed his hat-trick in the 80th minute. Nestor’s stinging shot from the edge of the box hit straight to Kunniyil. Manzi reacted to the rebound and put his team 3-2 up.

With this win, Chennai moved to 24 points and are three clear of NEROCA FC. Gokulam remains on eighth with 10 points.

Click here to watch highlights of the game.

Real Kashmir builds on Mason’s heroics

FULL-TIME: Mohun Bagan AC 1- 2 Real Kashmir FC

Real Kashmir: Mason Roberson (33, 74′); Mohun Bagan: Sony Norde (42’)

Mason Robertson inspired Real Kashmir FC to a 2-1 win over Mohun Bagan AC at the Salt Lake Stadium.

Sony Norde provided the attacking threat for Mohun Bagan early on as the Haitian’s cross in the 5th minute flashed past everyone in the box.

In the 19th minute, Loveday Enyinnaya produced a crucial tackle to deny Henry Kisseka in the box. The Bagan forward latched on a pass from Elhusseiny. The Nigerian winning the ball to deny Mohun Bagan the opportunity.

Real Kashmir went hard at the Bagan players with tactical fouling and disrupted the tempo of the Kolkata club.

The ploy worked as Real Kashmir took the lead in the 33rd minute. Surchandra Singh had time and space on the ball and produced a delivery into the box from the right.

Defender Mason Robertson, who had bombed forward, went ahead of Arijit Bagui to scored with a brave, diving header. 1-0 to the visitors.

Kashmir’s tactical fouling went wrong in the 42nd minute. Kinowaki received the ball outside the box and Abhas Thapa went in hard with a two-footed tackle.

Sony Norde produced a brilliant freekick, which left Kashmir keeper Bilal Khan rooted on the spot.

Both teams went into the halftime break with the score at 1-1.

The second half started with both teams creating half chances. Sony Norde with a better of the chances. The Haitian’s lobbed attempt at the Kashmir goal failed to hit the target.

Real Kashmir should have gone ahead in the 61st minute when Armand failed to hit the target from six yards. Robertson providing an inviting cross, but the Ivorian’s header went wide.

Five minutes later, Kinowaki had a free shot on the Kashmir goal when he lashed on a loose ball. Abash Thapa prevented Kisseka’s shot on goal but the ball fell to the Japanese, who shot wide.

It was in the 74th minute when Robertson stunned the Kolkata crowd. After a quick one-two with Tetteh, the Scotsman unleased a fierce shot from outside the box which hit the post and into the goal, leaving Shilton Paul sprawling on the turf.

Mohun Bagan’s desperate attempts to score the equalizer came to nothing as the Kashmir defense threw their bodies on the line to maintain the lead.

In the fourth minute of injury time, Sony Norde stepped up for another freekick outside the box. The ball did not dip at the last moment and Real Kashmir knew that the match was in the bag.   

Real Kashmir climb to the second spot with 21 points, while Mohun Bagan remains at the sixth position with 15 points

Click here to watch highlights of the game.

NEROCA outclass the boys from Shillong

FULL-TIME: NEROCA FC 3- 2 Shillong Lajong FC

Chennai City: Katsumi Yusa (8’); Singam Subash Singh (21’); Aiban Dohling (55) [OG]; Shillong Lajong: Sheen Sokhtung (54′) [P]; Phrangki Buam (89’)

NEROCA FC stays in the hunt of the I-League title with a 3-2 win over the young Shillong Lajong FC team at the Khuman Lampak Stadium, Imphal.

The home team drew first blood through a penalty from Katsumi Yusa on the eighth minute. A poor tackle inside the box by Dohling Aiban on the Japanese gave the referee an easy decision. Katsumi stepped up to the spot and sent the keeper the wrong way.

The hosts doubled their lead in the 21st minute. Katsumi Yusa found Singam Subash Singh make a run on the left. The winger shrugged off his Dohling and doubled his team’s lead.

Lajong’s best chance came in the 38th minute during a counter attack. Naorem Mahesh Singh ran through the heart of the NEROCA midfield and laid a simple ball to Sheen Sohktung on the left. The youngster could not curl the ball and Lalit Thapa collected the ball easily.

In the 55th minute, Lajong pulled one back. A solo run from Naorem Mahesh Singh drew a foul from Sebastian Zoe inside the NEROCA box. The referee awarded a penalty to Shillong.

Sheen Sohktung stepped up and shot to the keeper’s right. Lalit Thapa produced a fine save, but Sheen converted it on the rebound.

In the very next minute, Malem Meitei found himself in acres of space on the right flank. His shot fizzed across the goal towards Subash Singh. Dohling attempt to cut the cross resulted in him putting the ball in his own net.

Lajong’s captain of the day having an afternoon to forget.

Malen should have made it 4-1 in the 85th minute when Malem failed to hit the target from close after Williams set up the local lad. The boys from Shillong refused to go out without a fight. In the 89th minute, Phrangki Buam scored a screamer to make it 3-2. Nabin Rabha’s cross into the box went past everyone and Buam cashed in to give the scoreline some respectability.

NEROCA are in third place with 21 points, while Lajong’s relegation to the second division looks imminent.

Alan Hansen famously said, “You can’t win anything with kids”. Shillong Lajong won their first match but have only picked up one point in the next 10. Maybe Mr. Hansen was right after all.

Click here to watch highlights of the game.

Churchill wins with a brace from hungry Wolfe

FULL-TIME: Churchill Brothers FC 2- 0 Minerva Punjab FC

Churchill Brothers: Antony Wolfe (61’, 84’ [P])

Churchill Brothers won their second consecutive match after Anthony Wolfe struck twice in the second-half against Minerva Punjab at Tilak Maidan Stadium, Goa.

It was a listless first half with limited chances from both teams. Minerva coach, Paul Munster attempted to changed the tempo of the game by throwing in Japanese attacker Yu Koboki in place of his compatriot Hitova Ayemi on the 35th minute.

Minutes before the halftime whistle, Koboki combined well with William Opoku to hit the target, but the Japanese was flagged offside.

Churchill brought on Wolfe came in place Nicholas Fernandes in the 55th-minute mark. The Trinidadian forward wasted no time and put his team ahead in the 61st minute.

The super-sub sealed the win for Churchill when he scored through a penalty with just six minutes of regulation time left on the clock.

With this win, Churchill has 19 points on the board and are fourth in the I-League standings. Meanwhile, Minerva has picked up only two points in their last four matches and are in seventh place with 13 points.

Rohit Danu become the youngest goalscorer in the I-League

FULL-TIME: Aizawl FC 0- 1 Indian Arrows

Indian Arrows: Rohit Danu (14)

Indian Arrows condemned former champions Aizawl FC to their sixth loss in the I-League at the Rajiv Gandhi Stadium, Aizawl.

Rohit Danu scored the only goal of the match. Danu has become the youngest player to score a goal in the I-League at the age of 16 years, five months and 27 days. He beat fellow Arrows starlet Jitendra Singh to the record.

A poor pass from Kareem Nurain was intercepted at the centre line by Khumanthem Meetei. The Arrows midfielder made run from the left flank towards the penalty area before playing a ball between two Aizawl defenders.

Rohit Danu received the ball and rolled it into the net past Gurpreet to give Indian Arrows the lead in the 14th minute.

Aizawl could have equalized in the 37th minute. Rochharzela failing to hit the target from the six-yard box.  

The former champions were shut out by the Arrows defense with Prabhsukhan Gill having a good game at goal.

Indian Arrows tried to pick Aizawl on the counter, but the young team failed to string together the crucial passes. The second half, which was played mostly out on the midfield, came to an end with the young Indian Arrows completing a 1-0 victory.

Indian Arrows leap-frog their hosts to the ninth position with 10 points. Aizawl FC to the 10th spot with 9 points.

Click here to watch highlights of the game.

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