I-League 2023-24: Gokulam Kerala share spoils with Namdhari FC
(Courtesy : I-League Media)
Gokulam Kerala now have 11 points from six I-League matches.
After the 2-2 draw, Gokulam Kerala FC have now have 11 points from six matches, while Namdhari collected their fourth point after half a dozen outings. Gokulam’s previous home match ended in a 1-1 draw with Churchill Brothers.
In the strangest of first halves, there seemed to be little in terms of on-ball action for the first half an hour as both teams turned rather physical, which hampered the tempo of the match. But then, PN Noufal scored an opener in the 35th minute with a delightful strike.
The winger went on one of his usual runs down the left flank, before cutting in sharply once inside the box and unleashing a shot at the near post that beat Tenzin Samdup cleanly to give the home side the lead. There is a tendency to berate keepers for conceding at the near post, but in Samdup’s case, it was undeserved. The keeper had just minutes prior saved Namdhari’s defence the blushes after an unmarked Aminou Bouba had risen from a corner to head towards the goal, only for Samdup to palm away.
At the other end though Devansh Dabas could have no complaints at fingers being pointed his way for the equaliser. Manvir Singh did all the hard work, dribbling through a host of Gokulam defenders to bear down on goal, but in the end, a slight positioning error from Dabas, who didn’t cover his near post anywhere near well enough, meant the forward could stroke the ball in calmly to draw the visitors level.
Things got worse for Gokulam on the edge of half time, as Palwinder Singh headed in a second, from a delightful Imanol Sadaba cross from the right. The ball left the Gokulam defence flummoxed, and all Balwinder had to do was get his head to it from a mere three yards.
Through the second half a pattern was set. Gokulam were keen to go forward and play with the ball, try and equalise and gain some ground. For Namdhari, it turned into a battle of attrition, and they hacked away any loose ball, as far as they could preferably.
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It was a tactic with an inbuilt risk and eventually that risk told. Komron Tursonov has scored many goals in Indian football but it’s doubtful he’s scored one like the scorcher that lit up the EMS. Picking up the ball 35 yards out, the diminutive striker let loose a shot straight into the top corner. Samdup had no chance.
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