Real Kashmir FC’s 1-0 win over league leaders Chennai City FC has blown the 2018/19 I-League title race wide open. With Churchill Brothers picking up three points, the top three teams are separated by two points. East Bengal is also in the hunt after their derby win over Mohun Bagan.
Title hunt gets real with Kashmir’s win over Chennai
FULL TIME: Real Kashmir FC 1 – 0 Chennai City FC
REAL KASHMIR: Gnohere Krizo (81’)
Real Kashmir FC completed the double over league leaders, Chennai City FC, with a 1-0 win in Srinagar.
Gnohere Krizo’s strike in the 81st minute secured three points for the home team. The result has also thrown the title race wide open with three teams separated by two points.
Chennai City FC played their brand of swift passing football, however, it was Real Kashmir’s counter-attacking style that threatened to open the scoring. in the 35th minute, Krizo’s volley produced a fine save off Chennai goalkeeper Santana Garcia.
After the break, Katebe failed to capitalize on a mistake by Nestor and proceeded to head the ball over the bar.
Santana continued to keep the Chennai in the game by denying Krizo in the 72nd minute. The Ivorian dribbled past two defenders before unleashing a fine shot, but Santana managed to parry it away.
Egged on by their boisterous crowd, Real Kashmir went ahead when Krizo nodded in a cross from the right flank in the 81st minute.
Real Kashmir could have doubled their lead four minutes in the 85th minute when Bazie Armand slammed a Surchandra corner onto the crossbar.
The win takes Real Kashmir to 28 points, level with Churchill Brothers and two behind Chennai City.
The Goan team remains second in the points table courtesy of a superior goal difference over the Snow Leopards.
Plaza’s brace cripple Arrows charge
FULL TIME: Churchill Brothers SC 2 – 1 Indian Arrows
CHURCHILL BROTHERS: Willis Plaza (22’;45’); INDIAN ARROWS: Deepak Tangri (38’)
Far from the cold valleys of Kashmir and to the warm beaches of Goa. It was yet another brace from Willis Plaza to guide Churchill Brothers to a 2-1 win over Indian Arrows at the Tilak Maidan Stadium, Goa.
Churchill pressed from the first minute with Plaza in combination with Dawda Ceesay and Anthony Wolfe. The hosts went ahead in the 22nd minute when Plaza headed in a pinpoint pass from Ceesay. The Gambian with his ninth assist of the season.
The Arrows youngsters continued attacking and were rewarded with an equalizer in the 38th minute when Tangri headed the ball into the back of the net from an Abhijit Sarkar corner kick.
Churchill went ahead again in the 45th minute when Plaza found his second goal. Showcasing a bit of individual brilliance, the Churchill frontman beat the Arrows defenders and the Arrows goalkeeper Gill.
Plaza leads the goalscoring charts with 15 goals, two ahead of Chennai hitman Pedro Manzi.
The game got physical in the second half, with Churchill continuing to dominate their opponents. However, the home team breathed a sigh of relief in the latter stages of the match.
The visitors were awarded a penalty kick in the 84th minute. However, Sanjeev Stalin’s effort was parried away by James Kithan.
With this win, Churchill Brothers are now placed second in the table with 28 points, two short of league toppers Chennai City FC.
Kolkata stays red and gold after the derby
FULL TIME: Mohun Bagan AC 0 – 2 East Bengal FC
EAST BENGAL: Jaime Colado (35’); Jobby Justin (75’)
East Bengal did the derby double in the I-League for the first time in 15 years with a 2-0 victory over Mohun Bagan 2-0 at the Salt Lake Stadium, Kolkata.
Bagan came flying out of the blocks but could not convert an early chance as Dipanda Dicka scuffed a left-footed volley from Sony Norde’s cross.
East Bengal went ahead in the 35th minute. Jobby Justin nudged Kingsley Obumneme off the ball on the right flank and pulled the ball back for Jaime Colado. The Spaniard shimmied past his marker and slid the ball past Shilton Paul.
The Mariners thought they had equalized in the second half when Dicka and Darren Caldeira bundled the ball into the East Bengal net, but the referee ruled it out for infringement on an East Bengal player.
Jobby Justin ensured all three points with a smart finish to give East Bengal a 2-0 lead in the 75th minute.
East Bengal is in fourth place with 25 points, five points behind the league leaders. The Red and Golds also have a match in hand. Mohun Bagan is left with a slim chance to go ahead of their city rivals and an even slimmer chance of winning the title.
Lajong ends winless run as Minerva’s season gets worse
FULL TIME: Minerva Punjab FC 0 – 1 Shillong Lajong FC
SHILLONG LAJONG: Naorem Mahesh Singh (81’)
Shillong Lajong FC stunned Minerva Punjab FC with a 1-0 at the Tau Devi Lal Stadium, Panchkula.
Mahesh Singh scored in the 84th minute, however, the player of the match for Lajong was their goalkeeper Phurba Lachenpa.
After 12 matches without a win, the visitors put up a stout defense while the Minerva team lacked clinical finishing to keep the scores down in the first half.
Lajong did have the best chance of the first half when Khongsit’s attempt to drive into the Minerva box was cut short by the hosts in the 31st minute.
The second half began with defending champions pressing for a goal from the onset. However, Lajong’s goalkeeper Lachenpa kept the home team at bay.
In the 56th minute, Naorem Mahesh Singh was subbed in and Lajong’s attacking game gained the much-needed impetus.
The visitors should have scored in the 75th minute. Kitboklang Pale made a brilliant run from the center line to play a pass to Khongsit inside the Minerva box. However, the youngster’s shot went wide.
Finally, in the 84th-minute Lajong scored. A shot bySheen was parried away by Nidhin Lal, but
Mahesh Singh scored on a rebound.
Shillong nearly doubled their lead in the 88th minute but Pale’s attempt was saved by Nidhin Lal this time around.
The win takes puts Lajong’s total at seven points, while Minerva is stuck on 14 points in seventh place. The defending champions are winless in seven matches.
10-man NEROCA hold slams the door on Aizawl
FULL TIME: NEROCA FC 0 – 0 Aizawl FC
The NorthEast derby between NEROCA FC and Aizawl FC ended in a goalless draw at the Khuman Lampak Main Stadium, Imphal.
An eventful game saw NEROCA’s Brazilian defender Eduardo Ferreira receive a red card for a reckless challenge on Zikahi Dodoz in the 48th minute.
NEROCA FC, after back-to-back defeats to Mohun Bagan and Churchill Brothers, started the game searching for a win to keep pace with the league leaders. However, it was the visitors Aizawl FC who seemed to press hard to draw first blood but were unable to convert opportunities in their favor.
The Manipuri side, on the other hand, started attacking a little later and were in control of the game midway into the first half.
The entertaining 45 minutes ended goalless, with Aizawl FC coming closest to scoring when Kareem Nurain hit the post with an effort from outside the box.
The start of the second half put NEROCA on the back foot when defender Eduardo Ferreira was shown the red card for a challenge on Zikahi Dodoz.
While NEROCA FC was down to 10 men in the 48th minute, the referee dished out yellow cards to Sebastian Thangmuansang (50th minute) and Aryn Williams (52nd minute) for rash challenges.
With their backs against the walls, the 10-man NEROCA team held on to prevent the Aizawl attack from scoring. The game came to an end both teams sharing the points.
All square between Mohun Bagan and Gokulam Kerala
FULL TIME: Mohun Bagan AC 2 – 2 Gokulam Kerala FC
MOHUN BAGAN: Shilton D’Silva (18’); Dipanda Dicka (60′); GOKULAM KERALA: Kim Kima (21′ [OG]); Marcus Joseph (24′)
Mohun Bagan and Gokulam Kerala FC shared a point each post a thrilling 2-2 draw at the Salt Lake Stadium, Kolkata.
While the home side drew first blood through Shilton D’Silva in the 18th minute, their heroics were soon nullified thanks to an own goal in the 21st minute, due to a miscommunication between their defender Kim Kima and goalkeeper Shilton Paul.
Their woes doubled up as Gokulam Kerala FC fired in a second through Marcus Joseph in the 24th minute to take a lead of 2-1. Mohun Bagan finally rescued them from a loss in the 60th minute when Dipanda Dicka scored the equalizer from a Henry Kisseka pass. Gokulam’s goalkeeper Arnab Das Sarma was adjudged the Hero of the Match.
The away side had the first opportunity of the match in the very first minute. Marcus Joseph attempted to catch Shilton Paul off guard with a long-range effort from the center circle. The ball curled away from goal, much to the relief of the Bagan custodian.
Mohun Bagan created chances of their own especially off their corners kick routines. Dipanda Dicka and Henry Kisseka coming close to the target.
Mohun Bagan’s efforts paid off when Shilton D’Silva headed in another corner kick from Sony Norde in the 18th minute to give the home side the game.
However, the home team was pegged back three minutes later. Poor communication between Shilton Paul and Kim Kima led to an own goal from the defender to gift Gokulam Kerala FC the equalizer.
The visitors upped the tempo and went ahead in the 24th minute. Marcus Joseph latched on to a through ball from Suhair and chipped over the onrushing Shilton Paul.
Mohun Bagan should have ended the half 2-2 when Sony Norde put in a cross from the left. Kisseka only had the goalkeeper to beat, but his shot went over the bar from the six-yard box.
Mehtab Hossain was subbed in the 53rd minute which saw a turn in Bagan’s fortune. The pace increased from in the flanks and in the 60th minute the home team equalized. A lofted pass from Kisseka was directed into the goal by Dipanda Dicka.
The last 30 minutes saw an organized Mohun Bagan’s collective effort being nullified by the Gokulam defense.
The draw takes Mohun Bagan’s points tally to 22 in 6th place, while Gokulam Kerala are in 9th place with 12 points.