On a frosty December morning, Real Kashmir FC exploited a series of defensive blunders to notch up a comfortable 3-0 triumph over Gokulam Kerala FC in the I-League 2023-24 match at the TRC Football Turf on Monday, December 11.
The first two goals were a direct result of catastrophic mistakes by Gokulam Kerala’s goalkeeper, Devansh Dabas, who fumbled crucially not once but twice. Defender Vikas also found himself in a precarious position, failing to clear the ball timely, which only compounded Gokulam Kerala’s woes. Amidst this backdrop of defensive turmoil, Real Kashmir’s Gnohere Krizo emerged as the hero of the hour, scoring a brace with precision and flair. Jeremy Laldinpuia also left his mark on the scoresheet.
The win helped Real Kashmir climb to the third spot in the I-League standings. The Srinagar side have 17 points from nine games, including five wins, two draws and two losses. Gokulam Kerala hold the sixth spot in the table with 13 points from nine games. They have won three matches, eked out four draws and suffered two losses.
Real Kashmir’s standout feature in this I-League season has been their exceptional defensive strength. The defensive lineup, including Muhammad Hammad, Shaher Shaheen, Dion Menzes, and Carlos Alberto Silva, has been remarkably steadfast, a key factor in their impressive record of conceding only four goals — the lowest in the league so far. This defensive prowess was once again evident on Monday, as the Real Kashmir backline consistently thwarted Gokulam Kerala FC’s offensive efforts, effectively neutralising their threats.
The first goal came in the 31st minute, originating from a seemingly harmless back pass by Vikas to goalkeeper Dabas. Caught in a moment of hesitation and failing to clear the ball quickly, Dabas was confronted by Krizo. Using his strength, Krizo overpowered the goalkeeper, took possession of the ball, and skillfully slotted it into the net.
Dabas was clearly having a day off as he committed his second error in the 59th minute. Laldinpuia made a run on the left wing before stepping past his marker Vikas to shoot at goal. Dabas should have easily collected the ball, but he made a mess of it. The ball slipped from his grasp and crossed the goalline as Real Kashmir doubled their advantage.
In just six minutes, Gokulam Kerala’s defence made another costly error. During a spell of passing by Real Kashmir to build up their attack, Gokulam Kerala defender Muhammad Saheef tried to intervene by heading the ball towards his teammate, Vikas. However, Vikas failed to clear his line effectively. His inadequate clearance struck Krizo, and the alert forward quickly capitalised on this mistake, seizing the opportunity to score his second goal of the match.