Mohammedan Sporting and Gokulam Kerala FC played out an entertaining 1-1 draw in their I-League 2023-24 game at the Naihati Stadium on Friday, December 8. Mohammedan Sporting consolidated their position at top of the league, while Gokulam Kerala climbed to sixth on the table.
Overall, Gokulam Kerala should go home satisfied as they managed to stop the winning run of Mohammedan Sporting, who earlier won five matches in a row. While Mohammedan Sporting now have 20 points from eight matches, Gokulam Kerala have 13 from eight outings.
A fractious first half was played mostly to the tunes of the home side, whose every venture into the Gokulam Kerala box was met with a loud round of cheers from the stands and then a hasty booted clearance from the nearest player clad in yellow. Lalremsanga in particular was a thorn in the side of the Gokulam Kerala defence, his runs from the right constantly creating havoc and confusion in their ranks. Often enough his delivery was on point too, but the finish was lacking.
Gokulam Kerala had no respite from the other flank where Alexis Gomez cut inside every time he got the ball. The opener was devised entirely of his, and the Gokulam Kerala goalkeeper Devansh Dabas’ making. From a routine corner, Gomez curled the ball into the near post, hoping a nick would guide it in. It fell straight to Dabas who somehow got his hands tangled up, spilling it into the path of an unfortunate backtracking Abdul Hakku. With five minutes to go for the break, Mohammedan Sporting had a deserved lead.
Mohammedan Sporting had multiple opportunities to double their lead in the early part of the second half, Bikash Singh’s missed header at an open goal the highlight of them. The misses only served to motivate Gokulam Kerala who built their way into the game slowly. Alex Sanchez was soon imposing himself more on proceedings, but it was two substitutes combining brilliantly to get them an equaliser.
A brilliant through ball by Nili Perdomo put Sreekuttan VS through on goal and the winger made no mistake chipping the ball over Padam Chettri to equalise. It was Mohammedan Sporting’s turn to survive and thanks to the brilliance of Chettri, who pulled off a pair of brilliant saves, they did, escaping with one point from home.