I-league: Gokulam Kerala FC start season by beating Churchill Brothers
Gokulam Kerala FC started the I-League season with a narrow 1-0 win over Churchill Brothers at the Kalyani Stadium. Gokulam Kerala captain Sharif Mohammad netted the solitary goal of the match in the 16th minute from the spot. The Malabarians were awarded the penalty after Ngangom Ronald Singh was brought down in the penalty box by Lebanese Shadi Skaf.
Why does it matter?
The reigning champions Gokulam Kerala starting their campaign against last season's finalist Churchill Brothers. I-league could not have had picked better opponents than this for day 1 match. Both teams are the early favorites to take the trophy home. With three points taken after the first game, Gokulam Kerala will be relieved. They would want to build on the performance.
How does the match pan out?
Both Gokulam Kerala and Churchill Brothers had a nervy start in the game as they canceled out each other's early advances. As the game progresses, Kerala increased their attack in the opposition box, leading to Skaf's mistimed challenge against Ronald. Mohammad converted the penalty to get his side 1-0 up. After that, Churchill Brothers played catch-up but failed to score an equalizer.
The other major results
TRAU and Indian Arrows kicked off the proceedings of I-league by playing out a goalless draw. Despite getting several shots on target, both teams were forced to share the spoils after the match ended in a stalemate. Rajasthan United fielded just nine players in their dramatic debut due to their inability to rope in new players. Rajasthan were downed 0-2 by RoundGlass Punjab.
I-league points table
Punjab are leading the I-league points table with three points. Kerala also have three points under their name but are occupying second place due to inferior goal difference. TRAU and Arrows have one point each and are placed third and fourth respectively. Rajasthan are placed at the bottom while Churchill Brothers are sitting at second place from the last.
Monday match card
NEROCA FC will take on Sreenidi Deccan (time: 02:00 PM) on Monday at the FC Naihati Stadium. Real Kashmir FC will be up against Aizawl FC (time 04:30 PM) on Monday at the Kalyani Stadium. Mohammedan SC will square off against Sudeva Delhi FC (time: 07:30 PM) on Monday at the Naihati Stadium.