THE RESERVE SIDES of the two biggest clubs in Kerala, Kerala Blasters and Gokulam Kerala FC, suffered losses today in the Kerala Premier League.
In Group A, current I-League champions Gokulam Kerala FC's young reserves were playing against Real Malabar FC, in a Malabar vs Malabar battle. While Real Malabar were trying to get away from the bottom two relegation spots, GKFC had their sights on breaking into the top two of the group and progress to the semis.
But it was an upset of the highest order that they faced.
In the first half, it was early dominance for GKFC. Zuala scored for them just 12 minutes in, following which Rahim doubled the lead. It looked like smooth sailing for the rest of the first half, but it was after the break that Real Malabar turned it around.
Sajidh scored for them right after the game re-started and just past the hour mark, Ijaz brought Real Malabar even. The whole of second half was a tense affair but it was Ashif who got the winning goal for RMFC well into added time.
With this victory Real Malabar have put a gap of 4 points between themselves and the relegation-threatened Wayanad United. GKFC, meanwhile, are still on 4th place with 10 points from 6 games. But they still have a decent shot at making the top two.
But the campaign of Kerala Blasters reserves is going far worse. They are at the bottom of Group B, with 0 points to their name, riding the longest losing streak in the competition as we speak.
They were taking on Travancore Royals FC, who were themselves struggling to stay above the relegation spot. This match was a potential comeback opportunity for the Blasters. But they failed to capitalize on it.
Just 20 minutes in, Rakesh put TRFC ahead, and 76 minutes into the match Sujith doubled their lead. KBFC got a goal back late in the game courtesy Aimen but it was too little to get a point out of the match.
Both Gokulam Kerala FC and Kerala Blasters have had a decent track record in Kerala Premier League. While GKFC are the defending champions, KBFC won their first ever silverware of note when they beat GKFC to claim the KPL title in 2019-20.
But both the powerhouses in Kerala football appear to be struggling in tandem in the state league this season, which makes the competition more interesting for the hardcore fans as lesser-known local clubs are getting a chance to shine and dominate the headlines.