The past week of the Hero I-league saw some fierce battles with teams such as Mohammedan SC, Sudeva Delhi, Gokulam Kerala and TRAU FC earning hard-fought victories. Sreenidi Deccan and RoundGlass Punjab secured important wins and they are now tied on points, with the title race getting interesting with every passing match of both the teams.
As the I-league is nearing its business end, the battle of the team’s to finish the season in a better position continues. Kenkre, Sudeva Delhi, and Rajasthan United are battling it out to avoid relegation, while TRAU FC, Gokulam Kerala, and Churchill Brothers, who are out of the title race, will be looking to finish their respective seasons on a high note. Continue reading to find out how the teams which had matches during the past week fared.
Another 3 points for Sreenidi Deccan
Sreenidi Deccan eased past Rajasthan United 2-0 at the Deccan Arena in Hyderabad on the 12th of February. Asheer Akthar got on the scoresheet for the 2nd game in a row in the 5th minute, while a goal later in the first half by Lalromawia helped the Deccan Warriors seal the victory.
Faysal Shayestheh’s corner was headed into the danger area by Awal Muhammad. The Rajasthan defense failed to clear the ball and it reached an unmarked Asheer Akhtar, who slotted the ball into the back of the net. Sreenidhi added their second in the 39th minute. From a long throw sent into the box by Arijit Bagui, Columbian David Castaneda set up Lalromawia, who slammed the ball home to make it 2-0. Rajasthan United failed to respond even in the second half, with their forwards being poor in the final third. Novin Gurung of Rajasthan was sent off in the final minute of the game, as the Desert Warriors finished their game with 10 men.
Mohammedan comes back from behind to eke out a victory against Gokulam Kerala
A face-off between the champions and the runners-up of the previous I-league season at the Kishore Bharati Krirangan in Kolkata saw Mohammedan SC earn a hard-fought victory against Gokulam Kerala (2-1). Abdul Hakku put Gokulam ahead in the 14th minute, but second-half goals from Abiola Dauda and Kean Lewis ensured Mohammedan all three points from the game.
Mohammedan looked the better side from the kick-off, keeping a ball possession of 61% and creating a lot of scoring opportunities. But, Gokulam Kerala took the lead in the 14th minute, through Abdul Hakku, when he nodded home a cross from winger Shijin T. After knocking on the Gokulam goal multiple times, Mohammedan finally found their equalizer in the 67th minute. Abiola Dauda calmly headed in a beautiful chipped ball by Halder from outside the box. Furthermore, they had chances to score a 2nd, but it was Kean Lewis who did the job for Mohammedan. He shook the net with a stunning shot from distance in the final minutes of the game, leaving no chance whatsoever for the Gokulam keeper.
Chencho’s solo effort helps RoundGlass win crucial 3 points
RoundGlass Punjab secured a much important 1-0 victory against Aizawl FC at the Rajiv Gandhi Stadium In Aizawl, Mizoram. Checho Gyeltshen’s brilliant solo goal was enough for Punjab to bag all three points from the game, and to get back on level terms with leaders Sreenidhi on the points table.
RoundGlass started the game well and created many scoring chances. The trio of Luka Majcen, Juan Mera, and Chencho Gyeltshen pressed Aizawl’s goalmouth multiple times, with Luka and Chencho coming close to scoring. On the other side, Henry Kisseka had a glorious opportunity in the second half and needed just a tap-in to score, but Punjab’s Hmingthanmawia brilliantly cleared the ball away. Minutes later, RoundGlass scored, through Chencho. He received the ball in the midfield from a counterattack and made a solo run toward the Aizawl goal. The Bhutanese then slotted the ball home to put RoundGlass ahead. After going behind, Aizawl made a lot of goal attempts in search of an equalizer, but couldn’t convert any.
Sudeva Delhi, Gokulam Kerala and TRAU FC pick-up important wins
At the Cooperage Stadium in Mumbai on 13th February, Sudeva Delhi and Mumbai Kenkre faced off in the battle of the bottom-placed teams in the table, with both teams fighting to avoid relegation. The side from Delhi was able to defeat their Mumbai counterparts 3-1, thanks to a brace from Seilenthang Lotjem and a goal from Lalbiakliana. Kenkre’s consolation goal was scored by Samandar Ochilov.
On the 15th of February, Gokulam Kerala got back to winning ways against Rajasthan United at the Ambedkar Stadium in Delhi (2-1). Rajasthan took the lead in the 9th minute through Amengeldiev, but a late brace from Sergio Mendigutxia secured all three points for the Malabarians.
In the Northeastern derby, TRAU FC eased past Aizawl 3-1 at the Khuman Lampak Main Stadium in Imphal, Manipur, on February 17th. Fernandinho, Gierson Viera and Johnson completed the Red Python’s goals while Tharpuia netted Aizawl’s only goal of the game.
In other matches, Real Kashmir edged Mohammedan 3-2 in a thriller, thanks to a brace from Samuel Kynshi. Meanwhile in the Cooperage stadium in Mumbai, Mumbai Kenkre and Rajasthan United played out a goalless draw.
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