Chennai City FC’s French striker Joachim’s 28th minute equaliser dashed Gokulam Kerala FC’s hopes to start their I-League home campaign with a win at the EMS Corporation Stadium in Kozhikode on Monday, December 4.
Gokulam Kerala FC found the lead in the 21st minute through former Aizawl FC striker Bayi Kamo but Chennai City FC were able to equalize minutes later to end the match in a spirited draw that saw a huge turnout of 25,841 spectators.
The match lived up to the expectations of the huge crowd as both teams played an attacking football. Though the visitors had most of the possession, Gokulam were able to play their attacking game with ease and if it was not their profligacy in front of the goal, they could have snatched the victory.
Joachim almost scored in the third minute but Gokulam Kerala FC goalie Nikhil Barnard, who was adjudged as the Hero of the Match later, saved his team from an early ignominy.
Gokulam Kerala FC winger Vicky Meitei had the home side’s first chance but Chennai City FC defender Henry Monsang Tesong came up to the rescue with a goal-line clearance.
Soosai Raj wasted another chance after he surged past the defenders, collecting a pass from midfield, but his shot missed the target when he had only goalie to beat.
Soon after Gokulam Kerala FC found the opener as Kamo received a long pass from Sushanth Mathew and buried it nicely after dribbling past a Chennai defender and goalie.
Chennai City FC regained their lost moment after the goal and started to attack Gokulam Kerala FC relentlessly. Nikhil produced a double save off Joachim and Soosai Raj but his efforts did not pay off as they equalized minutes later.
Chennai City FC found the equalizer through a corner taken by Edwin Sydney as he swung it over Gokulam Kerala FC defence and Joachim scored from a header.
Gokulam Kerala FC coach Bino George was forced to substitute Mbele at the stroke of the first half due to injury. The injury was a setback as they lost an important player and this was evident in Gokulam Kerala FC’s second-half display.
They had their chances in the second half but their efforts went in vain as the Gokulam Kerala FC forwards wasted several of them to end the match in a draw.