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I-League 2021-22 Phase 1, Round 1, Matchday 1: TRAU FC 0-0 Indian Arrows; GKFC, Punjab win

TRAU, Indian Arrows play out a goalless draw in the I-League 2021-22 season opener

I-League 2021-22 TRAU FC vs Indian Arrows
Source: AIFF Media

TRAU and Indian Arrows started their Hero I-League 2021 campaign with a goalless draw at the Mohun Bagan Ground in Kolkata, West Bengal on Sunday (December 26, 2021). Despite both the teams getting plenty of shots on target, they shared points after the conclusion of the game as the match ended in 0-0 draw.

Indian Arrows, started with a 4-4-2 set-up with skipper Parthib Gogoi leading the attacking troops. TRAU, who had finished in third position last year, started with a 4-3-3 attacking set up with Krishnananda Singh and Joseph Olaleye in front line.

TRAU went for an attack as soon as the whistle blew as Joseph Olaleye moved to Indian Arrows half from the right flank. But his low cross inside the box was picked up by goalkeeper Ahan Prakash. In the 6th minute of the match, a run from Parthib Gogoi against the run of play stunned TRAU’s defensive forces. Gogoi managed to get a shot from close distance, but goalkeeper Amrit Gope made a clean save.

The team from Imphal fell slightly behind Indian Arrows in terms of possession as the game settled down in first half. But the AIFF developmental team could not convert the possession into goal-scoring opportunities. In the 18th minute, midfielder Vibin Mohanan’s free-kick from near the touchline went above the goalpost.

Two minutes later, Mohammad Fayazuddin Shah’s run from the left created a moment of panic in Indian Arrows’ half. But Kishan Singh, who sprinted quickly to collect the cross from Fayazuddin also hit the ball above the goal post.

In the 28th minute, TRAU had the best chance of the first half, as Naresh Singh sent a cross from the right and it fell for Akobir Turaev. But his header towards the goal was deflected away by Sajad Hussain Parray on the goalline and Indian Arrows breathed a sigh of relief.

Indian Arrows defended well for the next 10 minutes and calmed down the match. They almost found the opening goal in the match in the 43rd minute after a defensive error from Amrit Gope lead to Taison Singh pouncing on the ball. But Gope could not make the most of the opportunity as TRAU captain Helder Lobato stood big and tall and made the save, and the scoreline remained 0-0 at halftime.

TRAU started the second half with high intensity as Turaev created an opportunity for Kishan Singh to hit the ball towards the goal. But his powerful shot was saved by Indian Arrows’ defence line.

Indian Arrows goalkeeper Ahan made a brave save in the 59th minute after Turaev’s right-footed shot on the turn almost gave TRAU the lead. Both the teams brought fresh legs to the pitch in the next 10 minutes as the match started heading to crunch time.

Turaev continued to make threatening penetrations inside the box, but he was caught offside in the 77th minute, just when it looked like he might open the scoring. In the 82nd minute, Turaev released Olaleye, but the Nigerian could not collect the ball and it was deflected away by defender Sajad Parray.

In the 89th minute, Sajad Parray’s challenge on TRAU player earned him his second yellow card of the match, and he was sent off, leaving Indian Arrows one man behind. But they defended well in the injury time and and continued to keep the possession.

Harsh Patre, suffered an injury and limped out of the ground with a minute to go in the match, leaving Arrows with nine men. But Indian Arrows fought valiantly till the final whistle and the match ended in a 0-0 draw.​

TRAU will next face Sreenidhi Deccan FC on December 30, 2021 at 2:00 PM IST, meanwhile Indian Arrows will face Sudeva Delhi FC on December 31, 2021 at 2:00 PM IST.

Defending champions Gokulam Kerala FC begin Hero I-League campaign with a solid win

I-League 2021-22 Gokulam Kerala FC vs Churchill Brothers
Source: AIFF Media

Defending champions Gokulam Kerala FC began their Hero I-League title defence in solid fashion with a 1 – 0 win over last season’s runners-up Churchill Brothers at the Kalyani Stadium here in Kolkata today. Gokulam Kerala skipper Sharif Mohammad scored the solitary goal of the match from the penalty spot early in the first half.

Both teams made a nervy start to the game as they cancelled each other out in the opening exchanges of the game. As each team began to grow into the contest, their intentions were laid bare as both Gokulam Kerala and Churchill Brothers looked for a direct attacking threat by way of long balls behind the opponent’s last line of defence.

The Malabarians found the first breakthrough of the match after being awarded a penalty in the 16th minute. As the pacy Ngangom Ronald Singh skilfully surged with the ball into the Churchill Brothers box, he was impeded and brought down by a mistimed challenge from the Lebanese Shadi Skaf. Gokulam Kerala skipper Sharif Mohammad stepped up to take the resultant spot kick and calmly slotted the ball into the bottom left corner to give his side the advantage.

Churchill Brothers’ first big chance of the game fell the way of Bryce Miranda in the 21st minute, thanks to a sublime piece of control and deftly played through ball by Brazilian Guilherme Dos Santos which sent Miranda bearing down on goal. Miranda produced a fierce volley one on one with the keeper, but his effort was matched with a fantastic save from Gokulam goalkeeper Rakshit Dagar.

As Gokulam played to their slender one goal lead and began dominating proceedings with a high amount of possession, the Red Machines looked to end the first half strongly and created back to back chances in the 38th minute. First, midfielder Kingslee Fernandes tested Rakshit Dagar with a snapshot from inside the box, which was saved by Dagar without a fuss. A minute later, Nigerian Kenneth Ngwoke drew a fantastic reaction save from Dagar as his shot from outside the box took a deflection.

Gokulam Kerala nearly doubled their lead in added time in the first half. Midfielder Thahir Zaman produced a fantastic snapshot from an angle which beat Churchill Brothers goalkeeper Shilton Paul, but he was denied by the woodwork.

Churchill Brothers restarted the match in the second half aiming to up the ante in the encounter. The Red Machines increased the tempo of their play and started to combine well together as a team, but could not create any clear cut scoring chances to put the Gokulam Kerala goal under threat.

As Churchill Brothers hunted an equaliser, the best chance of the second half again fell to the Malabarians in the 68th minute. Ngangom Ronald Singh; who was a constant menace for the Churchill defence from the right flank, again got the better of his defender and measured an inch perfect cross from the right flank which was met in the box by Thahir Zaman. Zaman could not get clean contact on his header and ended up heading the ball into the ground, which made Shilton Paul’s save a little bit easier. From the subsequent corner from the right flank, Cameroonian Aminou Bouba latched on to a free header, but could not keep his effort on target and missed narrowly as his header arrowed over the bar.

In a game of few chances in the second half, Gokulam Kerala continued to defend well and maintained their one goal advantage, keeping a clean sheet in the process and opening their Hero I-League 2021/22 campaign with a precious three points.

Gokulam Kerala will come up against Neroca FC in their next match on 30 December 2021, while Churchill Brothers will look to get their campaign on track against Roundglass Punjab FC on 31 December 2021.

RoundGlass Punjab FC cruise past Rajasthan United in opener

I-League 2021-22 Rajasthan United FC vs Roundglass Punjab FC
Source: AIFF Media

RoundGlass Punjab got their first points on the board with a 2-0 win against league debutants Rajasthan United in the third game of the opening day of the Hero I-league season 2021-22 here on Sunday, December 26, 2021.

RoundGlass Punjab had the majority of the possession throughout the ninety minutes and dominated the play from the get-go. Punjab were on the verge of scoring in the eleventh minute but Rajasthan goalkeeper Vishal Joon came out to make the save as Ashish Jha was charging on him.

The resistance from Rajasthan could only go on for so long as Kurtis Guthrie took advantage of a mix-up between Joon and Anil Chawan in the 27th minute and headed the ball over the goalkeeper to take the lead. This was also the first open-play goal of the season.

Going into half-time, RoundGlass Punjab FC lead Rajasthan United FC by one goal. It was looking like a one-sided affair but Rajasthan still had a chance with a close scoreline. The second half began with another offensive surge from the Punjab team as they continued their hunt for another goal.

Punjab coach Ashley Westwood was shown a yellow card in the 65th and there were some heated exchange of words off the pitch between the referees and the bench players, some people in the stands were also shown the red card as play halted. Punjab Midfielder C. K. Vineeth also had to go from the bench after being shown the red card in the 68th minute.

Punjab had another big chance in the 76th minute as the substitute Aakash Sangwan made a perfect cross to find Kurtis Owen who leaped but wasn’t able to head it goalwards. The dominance continued as another big chance sprung in the 84th minute with a fantastic ball from Joseba Beitia to Travis Major but the Australian forward just couldn’t find the goal.

Finally, Punjab found their second goal of the match in the 90th minute as Maheson Singh Tongbram’s corner found Sangwan who directed it towards the goal and Aphaoba Singh Ashangbam very cheekily took the final touch on the ball to seal the game for his team.

These match reports were originally published on I-League’s website.

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