Despite going down to 10-men at the end of the first half, the Goan side refused to give up.

Real Kashmir were held to a 0-0 draw in their first-ever I-League home game, at the TRC Ground, Srinagar on Tuesday. The Snow Leopards went close on multiple occasions, being denied by the goalpost two times in either half. However, Churchill Brothers held their resolve and despite going a man down at the end of the first 45, they earned a point for themselves with a strong performance.

Here are the talking points from the encounter between both sides:

5. Gnohere Krizo’s clever movement and unpredictability can terrorize many opposition defenders

After scoring the winner against Minerva Punjab the other day, Gnohere Krizo was the man everyone had their eyes peeled on against Churchill. The defenders stuck close to him in order to neutralize his threat and despite not scoring, he made the defenders work really hard. Krizo’s movement and ability to pop into prime goalscoring positions made it seem like he was everywhere against Churchill. However, his poor touch let him down on the day and helped the defenders capitalize on his errors.

Krizo was unlucky to see one stunning shot strike the bar in the second half and looked really dangerous despite not getting a goal. He’ll only improve in the upcoming matches and could be Kashmir’s prime goalscoring machine this time out.

4. Poor communication dooms Churchill

Churchill Brothers actually dominated much of the first half and had done really well to contain their opponents in their own backyard. The Goan side had even created a few decent chances and looked to be on top of the game, but then disaster struck for them. A lapse in concentration from their players resulted in a horrible backpass, allowing Aaron Katebe to sprint free on goal.

James Kithan was forced to come out and misjudged his tackle, as he obviously handled the ball outside the box and was given his marching orders. Churchill played valiantly in the second half despite being a man down, but that missing outfield player neutralized their attacking tempo.

3. Mason Robertson is crucial to Real Kashmir

David Robertson’s greatest acquisition for Real Kashmir has undoubtedly been his own son, Mason, who has been putting in some incredible work for his side. Mason has proven to be an excellent defender in the I-League so far, using his agility and awareness to great effect. The young centre-back has been a commanding figure in Kashmir’s defence, often clearing out the danger with headers and putting in stout tackles.

Mason’s incredible long-throwing ability was also on show against Churchill, as he sent in a dangerous ball which met Krizo’s head, but went blazing just over in the first half. He continued his solid work in the second half, containing Willis Plaza really well and not allowing Churchill to split open his back four. Robertson earned his second clean-sheet and proved why The Snow Leopards will be a tough nut to crack this season.


2. An encouraging performance from 10-man Churchill

Despite going down to 10-men at the end of the first half, Churchill Brothers refused to go into a shell in the second period. They continued to move the ball with intent in the middle and did not park the bus. The Red Machines made Real Kashmir work really hard defensively and did not allow them to take total control of the match.

While Churchill were fortunate to see two attempts from the opposition strike the post, they earned a point after the energetic performance in the second half. They could’ve even scored late on, if Dawda Ceesay’s thunderous free-kick had been flicked on by a player, but earned another important point away from home. It was an inspired performance which proved how solid Churchill’s spine is this term, with their midfield and defence being a big upgrade from last campaign.

1. Luck didn’t favour Real Kashmir

Real Kashmir played their first I-League game at the TRC Ground, Srinagar and did not want to disappoint their fans who came flocking in numbers. It wasn’t easy for either side because of the difficult, snowy conditions, but Kashmir gave their absolute everything during the 90 minutes.

Danish Farooq, who was adjudged as the Hero of the Match, was stunning once again and hit the bar in the first half, with a thunderous attempt. The Snow Leopards were denied by the post again in the second, when Krizo’s curling attempt hit the bar and went out. On such a momentous occasion, luck just didn’t favour the hosts. Real Kashmir were unlucky not to score a goal despite going close so many times, but would be glad about how sternly they tested Churchill’s resolve time and again.