Sudeva Delhi FC’s last home game of the I-League season ended in another heavy defeat as they were beaten 4-1 by an assertive Gokulam Kerala FC side at the Chhatrasal Stadium on Monday, March 6.
Sergio Mendigutxia put Gokulam Kerala in the lead in the game’s early minutes before Sudeva Delhi’s Alexis Gomez equalised. The second half completely belonged to Gokulam Kerala as Shilton D’Silva handed the Malabarians the lead again before Farshad Noor and Mendigutxia added one each to record a comfortable victory.
Gokulam Kerala were superior from the get-go, and their persistence paid off when Mendigutxia scored the match’s first goal. Sudeva’s Ashray Bhardwaj was unable to clear Sreekuttan VS’ lobbed attempt, and the ball found its way to the Spaniard, who sent it looping over Sudeva’s captain and goalkeeper Priyant Kumar Singh.
However, Sudeva Delhi responded quickly with an equaliser from their star player, Alexis Gomez, just four minutes later. Following Sudeva’s high press, Gomez intercepted a pass from Tanmoy Ghosh before running into the penalty area and placing a low shot into the bottom corner of the goal. It was the Argentine’s seventh of the season.
Later in the half, both teams had a chance to go up but goalkeepers at both ends made good saves. In the 20th minute, Gokulam Kerala’s Shibinraj Kunniyil denied Gomez a second goal, while Priyant Singh made a fine save at the half-hour mark to stop Sreekuttan, who was found by an exquisite Mendigutxia pass from the right wing.
Early in the second period, Farshad Noor picked out Shilton D’Silva at the near post and the substitute meticulously headed it into the back of the net to put the visitors back in the lead.
In the 62nd minute, Farshad Noor doubled Gokulam Kerala’s lead. Noufal PN provided a clever pass to the Afghan midfielder on his right inside the penalty area, and from a difficult angle, Noor managed to place the ball through the legs of goalkeeper Priyant and put the game beyond Sudeva Delhi’s reach.
With five minutes of regulation time left, Gokulam Kerala were awarded a penalty. Priyant had made a double save to first deny Mendigutxia and then Thahir Zaman on the rebound, however, on the second rebound, the goalkeeper brought the Spanish striker down. Mendigutxia calmly slotted in the penalty to get his brace and bag another Hero of the Match award.
Following the win, Gokulam Kerala FC moved up to 36 points, four points clear of fourth-placed TRAU. A defeat for the Imphal-based side against Mumbai Kenkre FC later on Monday will see the Malabarians secure third place with a game to spare. Meanwhile, Sudeva Delhi FC continue to languish at the bottom of the table with just 13 points.