Dipanda Dicka and Lalrindika Ralte scored in either halves to help the Snow Leopards seal the victory.
Chennai City FC went down fighting 2-0 against Real Kashmir FC at the Mohun Bagan Ground in Kolkata, West Bengal in their I-League game on Friday. In a cagey match where chances were few and both teams cancelled each other out in the middle of the park, Dipanda Dicka’s 16-minute strike and a late goal by substitute Lalrindika Ralte proved to be the difference between the two sides.
Although Chennai City FC dominated possession for much of the match, Real Kashmir’s counter-attacking style of play earned them the win. In the 8th minute, Dipanda Dicka tried to squeeze in a header from a cross, but his effort was saved by the opposition custodian. Eight minutes later, the Cameroonian forward connected first time off a Lukman Adefemi cut-back inside the box and smashed the ball home to hand the Snow Leopards a solitary goal lead.
For all their possession in the final third, Chennai City seemed a bit lost in attack with no one able to open the defence of the Snow Leopards. Even from set plays, Chennai seemed unsure of themselves. In the 38th minute, Chennai City’s Serbian import Elvedin Skrijelj tried to equalize from a header off an Iqbal cross, both skewed it over the bar.
Perhaps the best opportunity of the match came for Chennai City FC a few minutes into the second after Real Kashmir had gone into the tunnel leading 1-0 at half-time. In the 51st minute, Raju was found inside the box by a pin-point Mohammad cross. However, despite Raju getting a free-header, the midfielder could only head the ball way off target as Real Kashmir survived.
In an extraordinary turn of events, Dipanda Dicka in the 62nd minute found the net from an impressive bicycle kick making a stamping claim for the highlight reel. The referee, however, cut the celebrations short and ruled the goal offside.
Although Chennai City FC played a very high line and even at one point had 11 men inside Real Kashmir’s half, the ability to create a clear goal scoring chance was missing. Real Kashmir defended in droves. The Snow Leopards committed bodies in defence and even overloaded the ball side with maximum bodies.
In the 80th minute, Demir Advic tried to find a way around Mason Robertson but was thwarted with ease. A minute later, Raju found himself in a good spot to grab an equalizer after a misplaced clearance, but his shot flew wide of the goal.
In the 84th minute, goalscorer Dicka turned provider as he played a through ball for substitute Lalrindika Ralte, who slotted home from inside the box to double Real Kashmir’s lead. Real Kashmir held on to their two-goal lead and saw the match off to register their first win of the Hero I-league season.