Gokulam Kerala finish their group fixtures with eight wins out of eight; Group A semi-final spots are wide open and FC Thrissur have withdrawn from the competition at the end of Matchday 7 of the Kerala Premier League.
FC Thrissur have opted out of the Kerala Premier League citing financial burden due to the arbid scheduling of the league by the Kerala FA.
The KFA has been very unprofessional in the conduct of the KPL. The league was supposed to end in four months. We started with a budget of 15-20 lakh rupees. We are spending around Rs 5.5 lakh a month to run the camp and even if we win the tournament, we get a maximum prize money of two lakh rupees. We have already spent around 35 lakh rupees this season.
The KFA released the Indian Navy fixtures just two days ago and it became clear to us that we would need to spend more money for the next couple of months and we thought it was not viable. Why should a professional club like us suffer for a department team (Indian Navy)? The club management had no other option but to withdraw from the tournament. We have written to the KFA conveying our decision but haven’t got any reply yet.
Jaison Francis, President of FC Thrissur to Times of India
We will be holding talks with the FC Thrissur officials in the coming days to see what can be done.
KFA president KMI Mather’s response
Here’s a roundup of the league fixtures this week…
SAT Tirur pick up their first (second) win
Group A, 6 April 2019, Tirur: Sports Academy Tirur 1-0 RFC Kochi
Although SAT Tirur won a game earlier in the season against SBI Kerala, the win stands nullified due to SBI Kerala’s withdrawal from the tournament.
SAT Tirur have had a poor start to the season and the win today finally gets their season going – although even if they win their next two games, it most probably won’t be enough to clinch a semi-final berth.
The solitary goal which gave the home side the win came in the 71st minute and the goal scorer was Shafiq.
An important win for FC Thrissur
Group A, 6 April 2019, Kochi: Kerala Blasters FC Reserves 1-2 FC Thrissur
FC Thrissur triumphed over table-toppers Kerala Blasters and are firmly in the reckoning for a play-off spot.
The away side scored a goal apiece in both halves. The first goal came in the 31st minute through Sibil and the second in the 66th minute was scored by Uche. The reserves pulled a goal back late in the second half (82′) courtesy Suraj, but could not find another goal to level the scores and the game ended in defeat for the home side.
RFC Kochi make amends
Group A, 9 April 2019, Kochi: RFC Kochi 3-1 FC Thrissur
Having lost the reverse fixture earlier in the season, RFC Kochi dominated the game and put three goals past FC Thrissur to stay in the hunt for the semi-final spot.
The goals came in the 7th, 46th and the 77th minute and the goal scorers were the Ivorian Rooney Youseff and Lendel Micici. The former Churchill Brothers man Bineesh Balan got a consolation goal for FC Thrissur in the 79th minute.
Group A Table
Here’s the current Group A table (Note that the matches teams played with SBI Kerala stand cancelled after the side withdrew from the tournament). All the teams bar Indian Navy have finished playing against each other and the remaining fixtures have been scheduled from the 16th of April.
|1||Kerala Blasters [R]||6||4||0||2||11||10||+1||12|
Gokulam Kerala FC make it eight in eight
Group B, 6 April 2019, Thrissur: FC Kerala 1-2 Gokulam Kerala FC
Gokulam Kerala FC finished their group fixtures with a perfect record of eight wins out of eight games played. The defending champions are the first team through to the semi-final and sit at the top of the table.
The two goals Gokulam Kerala scored came in the first half. The Ghanaian forward Christian Sabah converted from a penalty in the 40th minute followed by Sanju who got on the score sheet in the 45th minute.
Trailing by two goals going into the second half, FC Kerala reduced the deficit after Usman Sayyed scored in the 63rd minute, but the home side couldn’t make further inroads to get something out of the game.
Shooters United ambush Kovalam FC
Group B, 6 April 2019, Trikaripur: Shooters United Padne 6-2 Kovalam FC
A blistering hat-trick (24′, 45′ 55′) by the league’s top goal scorer Vishnu set the course for an emphatic victory for the home side over Kovalam FC. The other goal scorers for Shooters United were Sudhin and Surbin who got himself a brace to rack up a tennis scoreline against the opposition.
New entrants to the KPL Shooters United and FC Kerala are in the running for the second semi-final spot from Group B with Gokulam Kerala the other team to qualify from Group B.
For Kovalam FC who are playing without any foreign players, the going has been tough this season. They haven’t won a game or managed a draw this season and are at the bottom of Group B with zero points.
Shooters United and FC Kerala face off ends in a draw
Group B, 10 April 2019, Trikaripur: Shooters United Padne 2-2 FC Kerala
With Gokulam already through from Group B, the second place in Group B is being keenly contested between Shooters United and FC Kerala.
Shooters United who are playing their last group fixture needed a win to make it tough for FC Kerala to qualify. However, the game ended in an entertaining draw in a match where both teams led at different points in the game.
It was FC Kerala who took the lead in the 39th minute courtesy Rahil. Srubin would bring Shooters United back on level terms in the 54th minute and the home side would take the lead in the 62nd minute through Abdul Haque.
A penalty awarded to FC Kerala in the 68th minute was converted by Harry Morris and the game ended with the teams sharing the spoils.
With today’s result, FC Kerala are in third place with 10 points and with two games in hand over Shooters United who are on 13 points and have played out all their group fixtures.
Group B Table
|1||Gokulam Kerala FC||8||8||0||0||16||5||11||24|
|4||Golden Threads FC||7||2||0||5||9||19||−10||6|