Punjab FC have picked up their third win at home to keep up with league leaders Mohun Bagan…
Sergio Barboza’s (45+1′) opener was cancelled out by a Henry Kisekka’s (52′) strike that was helped in by the Punjab goalkeeper before Aser Dipanda (64′, 90+2′) sealed the win for the Warriors.
Mohamed Irshad and Haroon Amiri were back from suspension for Gokulam whereas Punjab remained unchanged from their last game.
The visitors threatened early on and had shots denied by the post twice from the attempts of Marcus Joseph and Henry Kisekka.
Around the half-hour mark, Salman Kalliyath got the better of Punjab goalkeeper Kiran Chemjong but Teah Dennis was on hand to clear the ball at the goal line.
The two minutes of added time to the first half then saw Barboza latch on to a through pass inside the Gokulam box before slotting the ball past goalkeeper Ubaid CK.
Gokulam were able to draw level in the 52nd minute when Kisekka received Marcus Joseph’s delivery from a free-kick. Although the Ugandan’s shot ricocheted off the crossbar, the ball hit Chemjong’s heels and went in.
And once again, against the run of play, the home side regained their lead in the 64th minute. Dipanda’s direct free-kick into the bottom corner left Ubaid rooted to the spot. A blunder by Ubaid offered Dipanda a second bite of the cherry when he failed to clear the ball outside his area and the Cameroonian obliged to make it 3-1.
The win took Punjab (14 points from nine games) within three points of toppers Mohun Bagan but the Mariners do have a game in hand. Meanwhile, Gokulam Kerala remain fifth with 10 points from seven games.