The brilliant Samuel Kynshi helped Real Kashmir mount a comeback and wasteful Kenkre rue missed chances.

Real Kashmir recorded yet another comeback victory on home soil, beating Mohammedan Sporting 3-2 in the Hero I-League 2022-23 at the TRC Stadium in Srinagar on Saturday, February 18, 2023.

The visitors took the lead twice through Mirlan Murzaev and Christy Davis, but the goals were cancelled out by Samuel Kynshi on both occasions. The Real Kashmir midfielder then turned provider for substitute Ernest Boateng who scored the late winner for the Snow Leopards.

Mohammedan strike agaisnt the run of play

Real Kashmir started the game brightly and almost opened the scoring just six minutes in. After a tactical corner routine, Lalnuntluanga Bawitlung whipped a cross into the six-yard area. The Mohammedan custodian Mithun Samanta misjudged the ball, and it hit the post before going out.Eight minutes later, much against the run of play Mohammedan Sporting scored the first goal. From the right wing, captain Marcus Joseph sent a delightful cross at the far post for Mirlan Murzaev, who beat defender Kamalpreet Singh to the ball and headed it.

Kibu Vicuna’s side’s lead lasted for only 13 minutes as Samuel Kynshi scored the equaliser. After receiving a pass from Bawitlung in the midfield, Kynshi charged at the Mohammedan goal and beat goalkeeper Samanta with an exquisite finish.

However, to the dismay of the home fans, the visitors restored their lead just six minutes later. Winger SK Faiaz cut the ball back for Christy Davis at the edge of the six-yard area, and the midfielder slotted it into the bottom corner for his second I-League goal of the season.

A few minutes before half-time, Kynshi had a golden opportunity to bring the hosts back on level terms again but was off-target with his header. A cross from the right wing by Rupert Nongrum was misread by Samanta again and the ball reached Kynshi, who had an open goal to aim for but sent his header wide.

However, Kynshi made amends just three minutes after the restart by restoring parity. The 22-year-old sent a looping cross from the edge of the penalty area, and Samanta’s struggles in the Mohammedan goal continued as he could not judge the flight of the ball, which then dropped into the back of the net.

Real Kashmir apply pressure

With the score locked at 2-2, it was Real Kashmir with all the pressure on the Mohammedan defence. Following a corner kick, Ibrahim Nurudeen came close to scoring in the 73rd minute. The striker received the ball right in front of the goal but was slow to react and the ball was collected by goalkeeper Samanta.

Nine minutes later, as Real Kashmir played high up in Mohammedan’s half, Murzaev made a counter-attacking run into the hosts’ half, and after reaching the by-line, the Kyrgyz cut back for Abiola Dauda but the Nigerian skied his effort.

With just four minutes of regulation time left Real Kashmir took the lead for the first time in the match. Ghanaian substitute Ernest Boateng scored with his first touch of the game to send the crowd into raptures. It was Kynshi with yet another goal contribution as his inch-perfect cross was neatly headed in by Boateng to seal all three points for Gifton Noel-Williams’ side in the I-League.

Kenkre denied by Vishal Joon

In a match between two teams keen to avoid relegation, Kenkre FC wasted golden chances here at the Cooperage Stadium on Saturday, and visitors Rajasthan United FC hardly showed initiative as the Hero I-League contest ended in a goalless draw.

Kenkre’s Akhil Kothari should be the more upset of the two coaches, because his team should have been up by at least a goal before the breather itself. In the 14th minute, Ranjit Pandre pierced the Rajasthan United defence with a through pass to Arvindraj Rajan, who only had goalkeeper Vishal Joon to beat. But Joon displayed his quality by leaving the goal and putting a decisive touch on the ball to deny Rajan.

The Kenkre forward could be excused for that, and Joon credited for pulling off a great save, but Rajan could not hide from the blunder seven minutes later.

Missed opportunities for Kenkre

His strike partner Francis Uchenna Nwankwo beat his marker with deceptive speed and rounded up the onrushing Joon but went too wide in the process. As a result, his shot into the open goal hit the upright. When the ricochet came to Rajan, he had all the time in the world to decide which foot to shoot with and which way. Incredibly, he missed the target.

It was hard to imagine an easier chance would drop Kenkre’s way, but it did. Francis was the provider once again. It was the 42nd minute of the match as Pandre got hold of his through pass, got inside the Rajasthan United box with nobody to stop him. Joon rushed out again, but Pandre succeeded in pushing the ball away from him. Joon had no option but to bring him down with his hands. He picked up a yellow card for that offence and referee Lakshay obviously pointed to the dreaded spot.

A huge penalty missed

Francis calmly converted the penalty, only to be told it had to be taken again because of an infringement. He somehow lost the plot second time round, shooting it way over.

The Nigerian got the chance to still become the hero in the second half, but his shot was saved from the goal line in the 63rd minute.

Rajasthan could not create too many chances anyway as Atai Dzumashev was the only one who looked to have some creative ability in the attacking third. But there was hardly anybody who could combine with him. A few headers and shots here were comfortably saved by Hero of the Match Tenzin Samdup in the Kenkre goal.

RUFC’s best chance fell to Chanso Horam in the 37th minute. It was a perfect cross at the goalmouth from the left, but Horam lost his balance trying to chest trap it. He could only manage a weak touch to Samdup.

The result did not help either Rajasthan United or Kenkre as they remained at tenth and 11th spots respectively.

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