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Gokulam leave it late to qualify for AWES Cup final

Written by: Ravish R Narvekar


The Kerala club will face Dempo SC in the final on Sunday...

Adileja Somide scored in the dying minutes to help Gokulam FC to seal the final berth after defeating Salgaocar FC 1-0 in the second semi-final of the AWES Cup 2017 played at Duler Stadium earlier today.

Salgaocar had won their last two matches against FC Goa and Viva Chennai FC, while Gokulam had drawn 2-2 with Sporting Clube de Goa in their last match to confirm their place in the semis.

Gokulam coach Bino George made three changes to his side as keeper Hemanta Gosh was back in the lineup. While he also included last match scorer Shihad N. and Ananthu Murali in the starting XI. At the other hand, Salgaocar coach Norberto Gonsalves made only one change as Denil Rebello replaced suspended Umesh Harijan.

Gokulam started the match impressively as they were the first to look at the goal but Adileja Somide failed to put power in his shot from inside the box. A minute later, they had another chance when Shushant Mathew tried to find Adileja in the box but Salgaocar defender Lenny Pereira cleared it before the strike could reach to it.

At the other end, Salgaocar also had few chances to go on a lead but first Agnelo Colaco could not reach to Brian Mascarenhas’ long cross in the box.  A few minutes later they almost scored when Gilbert Oliveira sent a floater pass to Harmanjot Singh in the box who nicely chested it down before blasting at the goal but Gokulam shot-stopper brilliantly blocked him in a one-on-one situation as both the teams entered the dressing room with a goalless.

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Agnelo who scored two goals in the last match against Viva Chennai was a complete failure as brilliant defending from Gokulam’s Ugochukwu Godswill and Shinu S.  gave no space for the striker to settle down.

On crossing over, Gukulam came up with two back-to-back attempts on the opponents but on both the occasion the Nigerian striker Adileja was culprit not to score. In the first event, Adileja failed to connect his header from close range off Dibin MD’s cross. Later, he saw his shot from 10-yards just flew over the crossbar.

 In an another chance for Gokulam, Shinu found Shihad in the box with a perfect cross from the half way line but Salgaocar’s Harmanjot cleared it at the cost of a corner.  A few minutes later, Adileja made a drifting run from his own half dribbling past two defenders and made a low cross in the box to Shihad but the striker sliced shot went wide.

In the last few minutes before the full-time whistle, Salgaocar also came up with few potent attacks but could not found the net. In one of these, Gilbert made an excellent cross to on rushing striker Clencio Pinto in the box but the front man failed to connect it properly s the ball was easily collected by Gokulam keeper Hemanta.

With just four minutes left on the match clock, Gokulam finally scored the winner through Adileja. The striker intercepted a back pass header from Rosario Mendes before finishing the ball into the back of the nylons with a chip shot above advancing keeper Abhijit Das.


Published: Fri Sep 15, 2017 09:34 PM IST


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