THE HOME TEAM began with a good speedy game. Gokulam Kerala in their first game at the top division were unsettled in the first 15 minutes of the game. An injury forced an early change for the home side. Aiman Saleh Abdullah Al Hagri was replaced by Novin Gurung.
Gokulam were much more strong physically compared the Lajong team. This played to Lajong’s favour as a number of fouls gave Lajong lot of free kicks.The possession continued to shift to either teams but no team would come close in the first half. The closest any one came was about five minutes from half time when Samuel took too long to get his shot away, allowing Barnard to collect the ball. The half ended goalless.
Gokulam players had the altitude take a toll on their agility as they could only foul players getting past them. Both teams tried long shots as penetrating defences was becoming a tough task. Once such attempt was that by Hardy, who saw his shot narrowly missing the crossbar. Mbele could have done better when he rushed forward in a counter attack. He took four or five touches forward and almost reach the Lajong box but his final touch was heavy and allowed Tempa to dive forward and take the ball away from Mbele.
The number of free kicks finally was put to best use in the 78th minute. Samuel, from a free kick on the right flank, sent in a looping ball with power in the box and Allen Deory timed his jump well to head the ball past GKFC’s keeper.
That would be only goal of the match and Lajong after about more than a dozen shots finally got one in the goal.
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