Henry Kisekka fires Gokulam to win over title-chasing Minerva Punjab
Written by: I-League
The Warriors seem to have hit a wall at the wrong time of the season having lost the last of their two games.
I-League title battle took an interesting turn once again as home favourites Minerva Punjab faced a surprise defeat at the hands of Gokulam Kerala FC in their own backyard. Gokulam hit the crossbar thrice before getting their hard earned goal in away conditions. With this win, Gokulam Kerala have now astonishingly beaten Mohun Bagan, East Bengal and Minerva Punjab in back to back games.
Minerva Punjab made 4 tactical changes in their squad from their previous encounter against East Bengal as Amandeep, Shouvik, Bazie and Rakshit made way for debutant left-back Akashdeep, left winger Akash Sangwan, defensive midfielder Randeep and Nepal International Goalkeeper Kiran. Gokulam Kerala were also forced to make 4 changes to their squad due to suspension and injury issues. Clearly, the tactical changes made by Minerva Punjab didn’t pay off and Gokulam scored the winner in the 75th minute with the help of a bicycle kick by Henry Kisekka.
Gokulam showed their attacking edge from the very first minute itself as the attacking trio of Kivi, Henry and Salam made life difficult for Minerva defenders. William tried his luck in the 15th minute to give the home side an early lead but his powerful shot was blocked. Minerva’s gameplay was sloppy in 1st half due to the fact that they couldn’t keep the ball in midfield.
The combination of Randeep, Kassim and William weren’t working too well although Minerva attacked really well near 35th-minute mark but couldn’t tickle the scoreboard. Randeep, who was on yellow card, was taken off in the 40th minute and first team regular Amandeep took his place in defensive midfield. There were a total of 4 bookings which indicates the general play of the first half was pretty rough.
The first half ended with both the teams failing to convert with the scoreline at 0-0.
Minerva tried to control the game from the start of the 2nd half but constant injuries to Gokulam players disrupted their play. The injury break in the game helped Gokulam to organize themselves well as their vicious attacks kept Minerva defence on their back foot. Finally, the moment of the match came in 75th minute when a short cross by Lakra was taken first time by Henry. The ball hit the crossbar and fell straight to Henry again who scored with a sensational bicycle kick to silence the home crowd. Minerva then went all out attack in final few minutes of the game in order to find a vital equalizer but both William and goalkeeper Kiran missed the goal post by a whisker in 89th and 95th minute respectively.
There wasn’t enough time for any more attack and referee blew the final whistle. With this win, Gokulam climb to the 6th in the table whereas Minerva Punjab are still at 2ndposition behind NEROCA.
Published: Tue Feb 20, 2018 05:37 PM IST