10-man Aizawl hold ineffective Gokulam Kerala
Gokulam Kerala failed to find a winner against a defensive Aizawl who played with 10 men for 70 minutes…
Gokulam Kerala could only muster a 1-1 draw against a defensive 10-man Aizawl side in their fourth I-League match of the season on Saturday at the EMS Stadium in Kozhikode. Abdoulaye (14′) and Marcus Joseph (70′) scored as the teams shared the spoils.
The hosts were the first to threaten following a cagey start to the game. Andre Ettienne has made it a habit this season to try and find strikers with long diagonals from the deep and he succeeded again, twice in the first ten minutes. Marcus Joseph and Mohammed Irshad were at the receiving end in attacking third but both of them failed to test the keeper from close-range after running in behind a high block.
Despite initially looking composed at the back, the Gokulam defence was beaten by a fantastic lob into the box from the left in the 15th minute. Paul Ramfangzauva’s delivery was met at the far post by Abdoulaye Kanoute who smashed the ball into the net from inside the box.
The hosts pushed forward to make amends for their lapse in defence and were denied an equaliser by a handball inside the box. Nathaniel Garcia cut inside from the right, dribbled towards the byline and cut back for Henry Kisekka in the centre. The Ugandan striker’s shot on target hit Joseph Adjei’s hand before flying wide away from the goal, prompting a straight red card from the referee’s pocket. Adding insult to injury, Marcus’ spot-kick following the handball inside the box was saved by keeper Lalremruata.
The match was more open in the early minutes of the second half and both teams spurned a glorious chance to score. Andre’s mazy run into the attacking third had the Aizawl defence in trouble. The defender passed the ball to his right for Kisekka who crossed into the centre where Lalromawia turned and shot wide.
Minutes later, at the other end, Isak Vanlalruatfela slipped a through ball into the box for Kanoute who hit the side-netting from a tight angle.
The teams struggled to create clear-cut chances but hosts’ pressure in the attacking third paid off in the 70th minute. Lalromawia released substitute Salman Kalliyath down the left flank and the winger, after dropping his shoulder to outfox his marker, found Marcus in the centre who guided in his third goal of the season.
A powerful long-range effort from outside the box by Garcia tested and failed to beat the Aizawl custodian one last time towards the end of the game before the referee brought the game to a close.