Indian Football

Gokulam Kerala stun Mohun Bagan 2-1 to severely dent Mariners’ I-League title hopes

The debutants handed Bagan their third home defeat of the season as the Mariners sit eight points behind leaders Minerva Punjab with four games to play.

Debutants Gokulam Kerala FC secured their biggest win of the season as Henry Kisekka’s 90th minute goal stunned former champions Mohun Bagan 2-1 in an I-League match at the Salt Lake Stadium in Kolkata.

The Ugandan earlier set up Mahmood Al-Ajmi’s peach of a goal in the 77th minute before Mohun Bagan took less than a minute to restore parity through this season’s leading scorer Dipanda Dicka who brought up his ninth goal with a calm and composed header.

Just when it was meandering towards a draw, a good volley by Henry caused Bagan a heartbreak as the 2015 champions signed off their campaign at home with a shock defeat.

This was Mohun Bagan’s second defeat at home against two bottom-placed teams – 1-2 defeat against CCFC on January 2 – as the Mariners (21 points) are virtually out of title race with four matches left in the league.

The win lifted Gokulam from the bottom, going past CCFC on better head-to-head count as the Kerala outfit secured their fourth win from 13 matches, of which three have come in away matches.

Bagan
needed more accuracy in their passes and finishing as their sloppy display was a big let down for the Shankarlal Chakraborty coached side. The Kerala outfit made the best use of their chances.

After a stalemate for more than an hour, the match came alive in the last half an hour beginning with a 63rd minute move when Bagan managed to miss a sitter. Akram Moghrabi could not have asked for a better supply, as Arijit set it up from the right with a low cross as there was no one from Kerala defence to stop it.

But a weak Akram strike found keeper Bilal Khan on its path and the Lebanese also failed to strike from the deflection, with his shot hitting the woodwork. Minutes later, Akram’s stint on the pitch was over and was replaced by the Nepalese import Bimal Magar.

Suddenly there was a goal from nowhere and it was Mohun Bagan who were punished for poor man-marking. Henry, who brilliantly controlled the long ball, threaded the ball between the two defenders to give it to Al-Ajmi in the box who shot it past Shilton Paul.

It did not take very long for Mohun Bagan to respond as Dicka found his ninth goal with a fantastic header supplied for him by Magar. Dicka in the meantime was adjudged man-of-the-match but as it turned out, it was Henry who turned out to be the real hero with his stunning goal in the 90th minute.

The goal was resulted from a throw-in that was nicely controlled by Musa Mudde before setting it up for Henry who showed a fine composure to turn around and slam it past Paul. To rub salt into their wounds, Mohun Bagan were denied by the woodwork when Dicka’s powerful shot ricocheted off the bar.

(With inputs from PTI)

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