Gokulam Kerala FC came from two goals down and found the net thrice in the second half to earn a remarkable comeback 4-3 win against RoundGlass Punjab FC at the VYBK Stadium in Kolkata, West Bengal on Thursday.

Elsewhere, debutants Sudeva FC notched their first victory of the season they beat Indian Arrows 3-0. In the final game of the day featuring two giants of Indian football, Mohammedan Sporting and Churchill Brothers played out a tame 0-0 draw.

But the highlight of the day was Gokulam’s seven-goal thriller against Punjab that saw plenty of drama.

In a tale of two halves, the first belonged to Punjab FC. Chencho Gyeltshen’s quick-fire brace and a goal by Rupert Nongrum failed to safeguard Punjab’s lead as a second-half comeback by Gokulam Kerala FC cut short Punjab’s euphoria. A brace by Dennis Antwi and an own goal by Anwar Ali in the second half led the Kerala outfit to register a remarkable win.

Despite Gokulam’s chances and possession, it was RoundGlass Punjabwho took the lead in the 17th minute. Chencho was found by a cushioned header inside the box, from a freekick, and the Bhutanese international slotted into the bottom corner to give Punjab the lead. Chencho had an opportunity to double the lead three minutes, but with only the goalkeeper to beat he shot over the bar.

In the 25th minute, Sanju Pradhan stole possession and ran towards goal. With Chencho alongside him, Pradhan played a quick pass to the Bhutanese forward as he slotted home the first time to double RoundGlass Punjab’s lead.

Philip Adjah reduced the deficit for Gokulam Kerala FC in the 26th minute when his outside of the boot shot left Kiran Limbu bewildered. The writing on the wall came in the 44th minute for Gokulam Kerala FC. Chencho ran towards goal and set up an onrushing Rupert Nongrum who slotted it past a hapless goalkeeper to make it 3-1 for RoundGlass Punjab FC.

With the Punjab outfit taking a solid two-goal lead, the second half became a mere formality as Curtis Fleming’s team committed bodies in defence to see out the match. Despite that, Gokulam Kerala FC tried to breach the citadel and eventually organized a massive comeback to win the match.

Kiran Limbu came to the rescue for RoundGlass Punjab in the 53rd minute when he saved a penalty kick from Dennis Antwi after he was brought down inside the box. With the Nepalese International in sensational form, it seemed no shot could get past him. In the 60th minute, Limbu once again put a strong hand to deny Philip Adjah’s rocket of a shot from the edge of the box.

In the 70th minute, Dennis Antwi headed home from close range off a Deepak Devrani free-kick to reduce Gokulam’s deficit to one goal. The spurred comeback was complete in the 72nd minute when Dennis Antwi used his physical prowess to latch onto a long ball, unleashing a half-volley that crashed into the back of the net as the scoreline read 3-3.

But there was even more on the cards. Three minutes later Anwar Ali scored an own goal after he headed the ball into his net to hand Gokulam the lead. Gokulam did not relent and tried to even double their lead. In the 86th minute, Dennis Antwi failed to find the net after he was released onto goal. With only Limbu to beat, Antwi shot straight at him forcing the Nepalese into an easy save.

Gokulam held on to their slender lead and saw off the match, picking up a remarkable 4-3 comeback win.

Sudeva win

Debutants Sudeva Delhi FC registered their first win of the I-League 2020-’21 season.

A goal apiece by Kean Lewis, Mahesh Singh, and substitute Shaiborlang Kharpan led the Delhi based club to an easy win over the Indian Arrows, in a match largely dominated by the Delhi outfit, both in terms of chances created and possession.

Sudeva Delhi FC started the match on an attacking note. However, they had to wait till the 40th minute to open the scoring.

Kean Lewis who orchestrated most of the attacks for Sudeva Delhi FC put them ahead when he capitalized on a mistake by Ahaan Prakash and found the net from a tight angle to send the Delhi outfit leading by a solitary goal to nil at half-time.

Sudeva Delhi FC continued their dominant performance and doubled their lead in the 49th minute. Mahesh Singh capitalized on yet again a defensive error and slotted home from a tight angle to double Sudeva Delhi’s lead.

Shariborlang Kharpan finally put the tie to rest in the 66th minute when he bundled home a free ball off a corner kick to give Sudeva a three-goal advantage.

Despite Arrows’ making attacking changes, the young Turks were held at bay by the Sudeva defence and failed to create any clear goal-scoring chances. Sudeva meanwhile dominated possession and saw out the match to bag their first win of the season.

Churchill, Mohammedan fire blanks

Churchill Brothers played out a goalless draw against Mohammedan SC in a top of the table clash here at the Kalyani Municipal Stadium in Kalyani, West Bengal today (January 14, 2021). In a tactical match where chances were rare, both teams cancelled each other out in the middle of the park, sharing the spoils of battle at the end of the match.

Churchill Brothers dominated possession in the opening minutes of the match but gradually the match evolved into an end-to-end affair.