I-League: Gokulam Kerala hold Churchill to a draw

I-League: Gokulam Kerala hold Churchill to a draw
Players in action during the I-League match between Gokulam Kerala and Churchill Brothers. Photo: Special Arrangement
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Kozhikode: Gokulam FC and visitors Churchill Brothers played out a 1-1 draw in their I-League match at the EMS Corporation Stadium, here on Friday.

Willis Plaza scored in the 5th minute giving the Goan team an early lead but individual brilliance from Gokulam Kerala's Arjun Jayaraj saw the hosts equalise in the 36th minute as both the teams shared the spoils at the EMS Corporation Stadium.

Arjun was rightfully declared the Hero of the Match.

Churchill Brothers took the field riding high on a convincing win against Kolkata giants Mohun Bagan in their last encounter and true to their form they started the game on an attacking mode with Plaza leading at the forefront.

Churchill drew the first blood as early as the 5th minute through a brilliant goal by striker Plaza from an equally outstanding pass from Lamgoulen Hangshing.

Plaza is now the highest goal scorer in the Hero I-League with six goals to his credit.

Soon Gokulam Kerala came close to scoring an equaliser but a good pass from Antonio German to Rajesh could not find the right direction to the back of the net.

Churchill Brothers kept pressing hard with regular attempts to score, utilising the gaps in the Gokulam Defence but could not capitalise on their lead.

Gokulam, who were visibly taken aback by the early deficit, slowly tried increasing their pace and attacks but were unable to convert the good opportunities that came their way.

Their efforts finally reaped results when Arjun received the ball inside the box from a pass from Christian Sabah and made no mistake in scoring an outstanding equaliser for the hosts in the 36th minute.

The game thereafter changed quite a bit with Gokulam pressing harder, but the Churchill defence line stood strong along with their goalkeeper James Kithan to deny the hosts any chance to score and take the lead in the first half.

The second half began with Gokulam looking for another breakthrough to grab the lead but the hosts could not convert the opportunities that came their way. Churchill Brothers' attempts also went haywire as the deadlock continued.

The intensity of the game could be judged by the simple fact that between both the teams hit a total of 15 shots in the first 60 minutes of the game.

Gokulam Kerala led these statistics with 9 shots to their favour while the visitors had only 6 shots to their credit.

Arjun played a fantastic game as the chief playmaker for Kerala. However, his efforts were not really rewarded as the striking force of Gokulam Kerala could not get the required finish.

The dying minutes of the game saw some exciting action unfold but some failed connections and a couple of interesting saves at both ends ensured that both Gokulam and Churchill Brothers walk away with a point apiece.

Gokulam Kerala will now travel to Kolkata to take on Quess East Bengal FC on December 8, while Churchill Brothers are scheduled to face Aizawl FC in Goa on December 9.

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