RoundGlass Punjab ride on Chencho’s strike to beat Real Kashmir
Lalrindika Ralte was sent off in the second half for the Snow Leopards.
Chencho Gyeltshen’s 37th-minute strike led RoundGlass Punjab FC to register a hard-fought 1-0 win over Real Kashmir FC in the I-League at the Kalyani Municipal Stadium in Kalyani, West Bengal on Sunday (March 21, 2021). In a match where both sides had multiple chances in front of goal and end-to-end action was seen for the large majority of the match, Chencho’s strike proved to be the difference between the two sides. Lalrindika Ralte was sent off in added time of the second half, further compounding the woes of the Snow Leopards.
With both Real Kashmir FC and RoundGlass Punjab FC out of the title race, the two contingents, playing for pride, did not hold back to showcase their attacking prowess in an end-to-end match that could have ended with a buffed-up scoreline, had the goalkeepers of respective teams not been in inspired form.
As early as the 4th minute, Real Kashmir FC had the chance to take the lead when Haroon Amiri found Lalrindika Ralte inside the box. Ralte set himself perfectly with a nimble touch, but his shot was saved miraculously by goalkeeper Kiran Limbu. It was not long before RoundGlass Punjab FC had their chance in front of the goal in the 11th minute. Aakash Sangwan’s swirling cross was met by a thunderous Chencho Gleytsen header but the header, although powerful, lacked accuracy as a golden opportunity went amiss.
RoundGlass Punjab came once again agonisingly close to taking the lead in the 20th minute when goalkeeper Mithun Samanta made a world-class save from close range to deny Pritam Singh’s effort from inside the box. Nine minutes later, Samanta once again denied RoundGlass Punjab FC by being in inspired form. This time, Chencho’s curling shot from the edge of the box, that had enough whip on it, was saved by Samanta’s fingertips.
Real Kashmir tested their luck in front of the opposition goal in the 33rd minute when Dipanda Dicka’s header off a Sena Ralte free-kick was saved by Kiran Limbu. However, it was RoundGlass Punjab FC that took the lead in the 37th minute when Chencho Gleytshen capitalised on a well-weighted Pritam Singh pass inside the box and released a shot into the bottom corner, leaving Mithun Samanta wrong-footed, to make the scoreline read 1-0.
After the Punjab outfit led at half-time, Curtis Fleming’s team upped the ante and looked threatening in front of the goal. In the 53rd minute, Papa Diawara tried his luck from distance and came agonizingly close to doubling RoundGlass’s lead. A minute later, Chencho set up Diawara inside the box, and once again Mithun Samanta made a fine save to deny Diawara’s effort from close range.
With RoundGlass Punjab FC dominating possession and creating more chances, Real Kashmir were largely pinned to their own half, defending. Rare chances, such as a 66th minute save by Kiran Limbu off a Sena Ralte shot, came but for much of the second phase, the Snow Leopards had no answer for RoundGlass’s attacking style of football.
In the 72nd minute, Chencho, who proved to be a handful for the opposition defence, found Aakash Sangwan on the edge of the box. Sangwan tried to finesse a shot from distance and although his effort looked like a clear goal, it was denied by some handiwork by Mithun Samanta.
Two minutes later, Kiran Limbu was called into action and produced a stellar save to deny substitute Chesterpaul Lyngdoh from close range, after the winger had cut inside and shot with ferocity to test his luck.
Real Kashmir pushed for the equalising goal in the dying embers of the match and Chesterpaul Lyngdoh’s shot in the 88th minute earned a good save by Kiran Limbu, but the Snow Leopards eventually ran out of steam. Lalrdindika Ralte was sent-off in the added extra time of the second half, reducing the Snow Leopards to ten-man and thwarted by the RoundGlass defence, Real Kashmir failed to find a way through and at the end of time, the scoreline read 1-0 in favour of the Punjab outfit.
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