Real Kashmir edge past Sreenidi Deccan
Real Kashmir continued their unbeaten run in the league, winning 2-1 against Sreenidi Deccan in the sixth-round tie of the I-League 2022-23 at the TRC Stadium in Srinagar on Tuesday (November 6, 2022).
After trailing until the hour mark through Asheer Akhtar’s early goal for Sreenidi Deccan, the Snow Leopards completed a sensational comeback in the final minute of the game thanks to substitute striker Ibrahim Nurudeen’s two goals.
Real Kashmir began the first half on an attacking note. Three minutes in, Jerry Pulamte received the ball on the left wing before cutting inside and beating his marker to shoot, but the Sreenidi custodian Aryan Lamba made a fine save at the expense of a corner. The resultant corner reached Yakubu Wadudu after the visitors’ sloppy attempt to clear the ball but Lamba closed him down to cut any threat.
Somewhat against the run of play, Sreenidi Deccan took the lead in the 12th minute after a well-worked corner kick taken by Faysal Shayesteh was flicked onto the far post by the captain David Castañeda. It found Asheer Akhtar, who volleyed it into an open net.
Real Kashmir pushed hard for the equaliser and went close to scoring in the 26th minute. Set-piece specialist Nozim Babadzhanov laid his corner for Lalnuntluanga Bawitlung on the edge of the penalty area but the midfielder skied his shot above the bar.
Eight minutes from halftime, Real Kashmir went close again, this time with the striker Issahak Nuhu Seidu. Samuel Kynshi launched a cross from the left wing for the Ghanaian in the six-yard box, however, having beaten Sreenidi defende Awal Mohammed in the air, Nuhu put his header just off target.
Real Kashmir began the second half just like they ended the first one. Ibrahim Nurudeen, who had made a positive impact from the bench in his previous outing, was brought into the game for Nuhu. The Ghanaian substitute went close with his first touch in the 51st minute, his header from Babadzhanov’s corner going just wide of the post.
Five minutes later, Nurudeen was again in the thick of things as he found himself with ample space in the Sreenidi half. The striker then pulled the trigger from over 25 yards out but his powerful shot was tipped over the bar by the visiting goalkeeper Lamba.
At the hour mark, Real Kashmir received a penalty kick. Pulamte’s shot from inside the box was handled by Sreenidi defender Awal in his attempt to block the effort. Nurudeen stepped up to take the penalty, sending Lamba the wrong way to bag the equaliser for the hosts.
In the first minute of the add-on injury time, Sreenidi Deccan received a golden opportunity to regain the lead. Substitute Songpu Singsit raced forward on the right wing before cutting the ball back for his fellow substitute Louis Ogana. But the Nigerian, who had the goal gaping in front of him, could only fire wide from six yards out.
The drama was far from over though as Ibrahim Nurudeen won it for Real Kashmir right at the death. Wadudu sent a chipped ball for the striker in the box, who unleashed a sensational half-volley into the top corner, leaving Lamba with no chance in the Sreenidi Deccan goal.
Following the result, Real Kashmir extended their lead at the top of the table with 16 points from six matches. A run of four consecutive victories comes to an end for Sreenidi Deccan who now have 12 points from six games as well.
Churchill Brothers earn first victory
Churchill Brothers FC Goa registered their first victory of the I-League 2022-23 season, as they mounted a second half comeback to defeat Mohammedan Sporting Club 2-1 at the Tilak Maidan on Tuesday, December 6, 2022.
Mohammedan Sporting took the lead early in the second half through SK Faiaz, but veteran defender Raju Gaikwad soon pulled the match into level terms minutes later, before Pedro ‘Tana’ Tanausu Placeres sealed the victory with just six minutes of regulation time left.
In a first half that left both camps hoping for more attacking intent, it was Churchill Brothers, who held the slight upper hand in the opening exchanges. Abdoulaye Sane was set through on the left a little ahead of the quarter hour mark, and made a darting run into the Mohammedan box, but some excellent piece of defending kept the Frenchman at bay.
Kean Lewis tried his luck with a header at the other end for Mohammedan, 10 minutes later, but his shot went off target.
It was a half in which the defensive duties were performed at full tilt by both sides, as the playmakers struggled to create many chances – so much so, that neither side managed to register a shot on target in the first half.
Both sides came out with more impetus in the second half, but it was Mohammedan Sporting, who grabbed the lead 10 minutes into the restart through SK Faiaz. Faiaz was set through on goal as he made a clever run between the Churchill defensive lines. The 27-year-old controlled the ball on the volley and struck it with the outside of his boot to send the ball past the far post and into the net.
The Black and White Brigade’s lead only lasted all of four minutes, however, as Churchill Brothers’ old warhorse Raju Gaikwad leapt high above his marker to nod in a corner by Quan Gomes, pulling the home side level with 30 minutes of regulation time left on the clock.
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There was no time to sit and admire the textbook header for Churchill, however, as Mohammedan soon pounced on the attack, and minutes later, almost came close to taking the lead again on two occasions. Safiul Rahaman sent in a perfect cross from the right towards striker Marcus Joseph, whose leaping header had goal written all over it, but the Red Machines’ keeper Albino Gomes pulled off an airborne save for the cameras. Joseph was at it once again inside the Churchill box, when he headed Nikola Stojanovic’s free-kick from the left. While goalkeeper Gomes was left rooted to his spot this time round, Joseph’s header went inches wide.
With around 20 minutes left, Sane also had a couple of chances at the other end; Sharif Mohammad pinged in a cross towards the Frenchman from the left, as the former’s header went whiskers wide. Just a minute later, Sane again managed to break free of the Mohammedan defence and with just the keeper to beat, sent his left-footed shot wide of the far post.
As the two defensive units seemed to excel against their respective opponents, it was some individual brilliance by the home side’s Spanish forward Tana, who dribbled past two defenders, entered the Mohammedan box, and blasted it past keeper Zothanmawia.
Mohammedan hurled bodies forward in added time, looking for the equaliser, but it was Churchill on the counter, who had the best chance of the closing stages. Tana was played through behind the visitors’ defence as he struck it on the volley from just inside the box, but the ball went wide, as the referee soon brought the match to an end.