I-League: Chennai edge Gokulam in roller-coaster southern clash

Chennai come out victorious in roller coaster southern clash
Shibil Muhammed, second right, scored a brace on his I-League debut. Photo: Special Arrangement

Kozhikode: Defending champions Chennai City FC got the better of Gokulam Kerala 3-2 in an entertaining southern derby of the I-League here on Thursday.

Adolfo Miranda (45th minute), Pravitto Raju (55') and Sri Ram (77') scored for the winners, while Shibil Muhammed (81' and 90') found the net for the home team.

The match saw three sending offs and five goals, much to the interest of the full house crowd at the EMC Corporation Stadium, who found it rather hard to take their eyes off the game after a slow first half.

The first half started on a dull note as both the teams were failing to gain any momentum as such. Neither Chennai nor the home side Gokulam was picking up the pace as the build-up play was very slow from both the teams.

In the 24th minute, Gokulam got a free kick just outside the box and Marcus Joseph took the shot but straight at the keeper.

In the 33rd minute, another chance came for Gokulam when a ball from the right flank into the box was met by a weak header by Henry Kisekka and it was easily cleared by the Chennai keeper.

Chennai who were looking out of sorts for most of the half brought in a change as Pravitto Raju, a midfielder, came on for Tarif Akhand, a defender in the 37th minute.

A change in the formation worked wonders for Chennai as a through ball from the left side of the mid-field went through three Gokulam defenders and Adolfo Miranda was there to receive it.

In the 45th minute, he very swiftly put the ball passed the Gokulam keeper and Chennai was ahead against the run of play with the Gokulam defenders left to appeal helplessly for an offside.

The goal pumped in renewed energy and Adolfo Miranda was again in the thick of things, his through ball was met by Katsumi Yusa's run and a shot which was saved by the home team keeper.

With no further goals in the half, Chennai went into the half leading 1-0 against the Kerala outfit.

Play resumed and Gokulam were on the attack.

In the 51st minute, a chance came the way of Marcus Joseph from a lob over the defenders but poor control let him down and Santana made a good save to keep him out.

In the 55th minute, things went from bad to worse for Gokulam as a mistake in the mid-field set up a counter for Chennai.

Katsumi got the ball and passed it to Adolfo Miranda whose shot was stopped the Gokulam keeper but the rebound fell to Pravitto Raju. Raju made no mistake and with a left-footed shot put the visitors 2-0 up in the match.

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