Spirited Gokulam Kerala FC Show Hope On I-League’s Return To Kerala
Chennai City FC’s (CCFC) French striker Joachim’s (28′) equaliser dashed Gokulam Kerala FC’s hopes to start their Hero I-League home campaign with a win at the EMS Corporation Stadium in Kozhikode on Monday (December 4, 2017).
GKFC found the lead in the 21st minute through former Aizawl FC striker Bayi Kamo but CCFC were able to equalize minutes later to end the match in a spirited draw that saw a huge turnout of 25,841 spectators.
The match lived up to the expectations of the huge crowd as both teams played an attacking football. Though the visitors had most of the possession, Gokulam were able to play their attacking game with ease and if it was not their profligacy in front of the goal, they could have snatched the victory.
Joachim almost scored in the third minute but GKFC goalie Nikhil Barnard, who was adjudged as the Hero of the Match later, saved his team from an early ignominy.
GKFC winger Vicky Meitei had the home side’s first chance but Chennai defender Henry Monsang Tesong came up to the rescue with a goal-line clearance.
Soosai Raj wasted another chance after he surged past the defenders, collecting a pass from midfield, but his shot missed the target when he had only goalie to beat.
Soon after GKFC found the opener as Kamo received a long pass from Sushanth and buried it nicely after dribbling past a Chennai defender and goalie.
Chennai regained their lost moment after the goal and started to attack GKFC relentlessly. Nikhil produced a double save off Joachim and Soosai Raj but his efforts did not pay off as they equalized minutes later.
CCFC found the equalizer through a corner taken by Edwin Sydney as he swung it over GKFC defence and Joachim scored from a header.
GKFC coach Bino George was forced to substitute Mbele at the stroke of the first half due to injury. The injury was a setback as they lost an important player and this was evident in GKFC’s second-half display.
They had their chances in the second half but their efforts went in vain as the GKFC forwards wasted several of them to end the match in a draw.