Punjab FC’s unbeaten home run continued as they defeated Real Kashmir FC by a solitary goal in an I-League match in Ludhiana on Sunday.
Dipanda Dicka struck the match-winner in the 44th minute as he became the joint top goal-scorer with nine in his kitty – tied with Mohun Bagan’s Fran Gonzalez.
Punjab FC now have 21 points from 13 games whereas Real Kashmir have 15 points from 10 matches.
The first half began with Robin Singh taking up the mantle of being the lead striker as Real Kashmir FC featured in an encounter after a week-long break.
Punjab FC had better ball possession in the first half and Real Kashmir relied mainly on counter attacks to make something happen. With a lot of game being played in the midfield, it was looking as if the half will end with parity.
However, Punjab FC had other ideas. In the 44th minute, an attack which started with the Punjab talisman Dipanda Dicka was joined in by Cavin Lobo.
Dicka played a beautiful one-two with Lobo and with a delightful first-time strike, he sent the ball between the legs of the Real Kashmir FC keeper to put his team in front just before half-time.
Punjab FC carried the momentum in the second session as they built pressure on the Snow Leopards. Soon after, it was Dicka again who came up with a strong left-footed strike from the edge of the box and it needed Real Kashmir keeper Phurba Lachenpa to come up with a diving save on the near post.
The game then went into a phase where there was not many chances for both the teams. Punjab FC were pretty content in holding on to the 1-0 lead and were sitting back to ensure that Real Kashmir weren’t able to string a proper attack.
With less than 10 minutes to go in regular time, it was second-half substitute Souvik Das who had a go at the Real Kashmir goal from a distance with an out-swinging strike which needed Real Kashmir keeper to come up with a diving one-handed save.
In the fifth minute of stoppage time, Real Kashmir got their best opportunity of the match. A ball from the right flank by Mason Robertson found a leaping Bazie Armand’s head inches away from the goal but instead of finding the back of the net, the ball went over the crossbar.
TRAU FC play out goalless draw with Chennai City
A resolute Tiddim Road Athletic Union FC held defending champions Chennai City FC to a goalless draw in a I-League match at the Khuman Lumpak Stadium in Imphal on Sunday.
TRAU goalkeeper Shayan Roy was magnificent under the bar to deny the visitors all three points. The first half was entertaining as both sides created goal-scoring opportunities but failed to convert them.
TRAU earned a penalty in the 13th minute when Ajith Kumar was adjudged to have handled the ball inside the 18-yard box. Skipper Princewill Emeka stepped in but his effort rattled the woodwork, thus squandering a glorious opportunity. In the 33rd minute, Netrajit Singh’s volley went inches wide of the post.
The second half belonged to TRAU goalkeeper Shayan, whose heroics saved the day for the hosts.
TRAU could have wrapped up the three points but substitute Krishnananda Singh missed a sitter in the 89th minute, failing to convert a delightful Premjit Singh delivery, barely a couple of yards away from goal.
In the final minute of stoppage time, Katsumi’s cross found Fito on his favoured left foot only to be denied by Shayan again. With this result, TRAU rose to the fourth position with 16 points, while Chennai City slipped to seventh place with 15 points.