The I-League has been heating up with close and exciting matches this week between teams vying for a better position in the league table. In the latest round of games, Sreenidi battled for a 3-2 win against NEROCA while Gokulam secured a victory over Kenkre with a score of 1-0. Churchill Brothers came out on top against Sudeva thanks to a last-minute effort from Anil Gaonkar, while Kenkre managed to earn one point from Punjab in a thrilling match among others.
This week’s games highlighted the competitiveness of the teams, and we can look forward to more exciting games this month as the title-race and the battle to avoid relegation heats up with only a month to go for the league to conclude.
Sreenidi Deccan secures hard-fought victory over NEROCA in thriller
On Sunday, Sreenidi Deccan FC defeated NEROCA FC 3-2 in a closely contested match at the Deccan Arena in Hyderabad. During the first half, Sreenidi dominated with goals from Faysal Shayesteh and David Castaneda. Sreenidi then extended their lead with a goal from Rosenberg Gabriel in the second half, but NEROCA tried to make a comeback with goals from Michael Kporvi and Jourdain Fletcher.
Despite NEROCA’s efforts, the home team held on to secure the win, reducing the gap at the top to only one point. The match was fast-paced with both teams creating several chances, but Sreenidi’s strong defensive play and game management ultimately made the difference.
Gokulam Kerala holds on to beat Kenkre
Gokulam Kerala played Kenkre FC at the EMS Corporation Stadium and emerged with a 1-0 win. The only goal of the match was scored by Sergio Mendigutxia in the 21st minute. During the first half, Gokulam dominated the game, but Kenkre stepped up their game in the second half, putting the home team under pressure. Despite the pressure, Gokulam managed to hold on for the win, even with a sending off for Rahul Raju.
With the victory, Gokulam Kerala moved up to third place in the Hero I-League standings with 24 points. The match was a physical and intense affair, leading to multiple referee interventions and resulting in cards for both coaches and a member of the Gokulam staff.
Churchill Brothers triumph over Sudeva Delhi with late effort by Anil Gaonkar
Churchill Brothers took on Sudeva Delhi FC at the Tilak Maidan on Sunday. Churchill won 1-0, thanks to Anil Gaonkar’s strong play on the left wing, moving up to fifth place in the league with 20 points from 14 matches. The match was impacted by an early injury to Martin Chaves, who had to be substituted in the 18th minute. This led to Abdoulaye Sane, Churchill’s leading scorer this season, entering the game and putting in a strong performance. He almost scored an amazing goal in the 43rd minute off of a cross from Gaonkar.
Sudeva played much better later on, coming close to earning a draw, with the strike duo of Alexis Gomez and Shavkati Khotam leading the way. Priyant Singh, Sudeva’s goalkeeper, made only two mistakes but otherwise played well and could have been named the hero of the game had the match ended in a draw. The Sudeva defense also played well, with only some brilliant individual efforts by Gaonkar and great finishing from Churchill resulting in a loss for them.
Kenkre secures draw against RoundGlass Punjab in an action-packed match
On February 1, Kenkre FC and RoundGlass Punjab FC faced off at Cooperage Stadium, with Kenkre securing a single point from the league leaders in an entertaining game. Kenkre started strong with midfielder Anjan Bista setting up Ranjeet Pandre for the first goal just three minutes into the game, followed by another goal from Aman Gaikwad two minutes later. Despite the early lead, Kenkre lost control, and RoundGlass Punjab quickly regained momentum with a goal from Chencho after a solo run from Valpuia.
The game continued to be intense, with several yellow cards and a sending-off for Kenkre’s Suraj Jeet Negi, and both defenses tightening in the second half. Despite RoundGlass Punjab’s efforts to secure a win, they were unable to convert their chances, including a shot from Valpuia in the dying moments of the game that was blocked by a Kenkre defender. Despite the result, the match was full of exciting moments that kept the spectators engaged.
Sudeva Delhi secures three-points against ten-man Rajasthan United
Sudeva Delhi FC won their first match in the Hero I-League, defeating ten-man Rajasthan United FC 3-2 at the Ambedkar Stadium. The addition of Argentine Alexis Gomez and Tajik forward Shavkati Khotam in the starting lineup boosted Sudeva’s attack. Rajasthan initially took the lead thanks to a lucky break from left-winger Atai Dzhumashev, but Sudeva’s Seilenthang Lotjem quickly equalized.
A brilliant shot from Alexis Gomez turned the game around, with Sukhandeep Singh performing well in the second half to prevent Dzhumashev from scoring again. In the end, a combination of Alexis and Khotam sealed the win for Sudeva, with Alexis assisting Khotam who scored a powerful left-footer into the left corner of the net.
Frustrating game for Mohammedan in 0-0 draw against TRAU
On February 3, Mohammedan Sporting and TRAU played a dull match that ended in a 0-0 tie. Despite having more ball possession, Mohammedan were unable to score, much to the frustration of coach Kibu Vicuna. Their finishing was poor and they missed several chances throughout the game, including a shot from Marcus Joseph that hit the post and a missed header from Mirlan Murzaev. Vicuna’s decision to play Joseph in a different position also impacted their chances.
TRAU had only one shot on target and couldn’t penetrate Mohammedan’s defense. They had trouble posing a significant threat, with most of their shots coming from far out. Nandakumar’s changes and right-winger Salam Johnson Singh could not produce any notable results. Both teams got a point and Mohammedan will have to improve their away performance if they are to avoid relegation. The 0-0 draw was a disappointing result for Mohammedan, who must work on their game to move up in the league.
Sreenidi Deccan claims comfortable victory over Churchill Brothers
In a crucial match for Sreenidi Deccan, the title-contenders defeated Churchill Brothers 3-0 at the Deccan Arena in Hyderabad. The game saw all of its goals scored in the second half, starting with a penalty from Deccan captain David Castaneda, who scored his 13th goal of the season. Substitutes Ramhlunchhunga and Louis Ogana added their names to the scoresheet to secure the win. The result put Sreenidi Deccan at the top of the league table with 31 points in 15 matches, one point ahead of RoundGlass Punjab who have played a game less.
The first half of the match was slow in terms of goals, with both teams quick in their transitions but unable to create significant danger in the attacking third. The second half saw more action, with both teams creating chances at both ends. Sreenidi’s first goal came from a penalty, followed by goals from Ramhlunchhunga and Louis Ogana. Despite the scoreline, Sreenidi keeper Ubaid had a busy afternoon making important saves. The match ended with a comfortable 3-0 victory for Sreenidi Deccan.
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