RoundGlass Punjab FC edged Real Kashmir 1-0 at the TRC Stadium in Srinagar on Monday (December 12, 2022), thus inflicting the first defeat on the Snow Leopards in the 2022-23 Hero I-League season.
Mumbai City-loanee Pranjal Bhumij’s goal meant RoundGlass Punjab led at the break. In the second half, Real Kashmir defenders Akashdeep Singh and Lamine Moro were sent off after receiving their second yellows, making the visitors’ job of holding their slender lead easier.
Staikos Vergetis’ RoundGlass Punjab, who had their unbeaten run broken by TRAU last time out, dominated possession at the TRC Stadium during the opening few minutes, however, without any real penetration inside Real Kashmir’s penalty area.
The first opportunity of the match was created in the seventh minute by Real Kashmir’s Samuel Kynshi, who launched a terrific diagonal ball over the top of the RoundGlass Punjab defence for Jerry Pulamte inside the box. However, Pulamte fluffed his first-time effort, sending it way wide off target.
RoundGlass Punjab punished the Snow Leopards with their first shot on target in the 21st minute. Khundongbam Krishnananda Singh drilled a low cross across the face of the goal from the left and Pranjal Bhumij, making his first start of the season, reacted quicker than defender Akashdeep Singh for a simple tap-in from point blank range.
Krishnananda was involved in another big chance at the hour mark, beating right-back Davinder Singh for pace before latching on to a pass from Brandon Vanlalremdika. However, the RoundGlass Punjab winger could only find the side netting from the following effort.
Real Kashmir started seeing more of the ball towards the end of the first half but the visitors’ well-organised midfield meant that the hosts had to largely rely on long balls to progress further up the pitch.
The Snow Leopards came from behind to win their last two games but their hopes of repeating that suffered a big blow early in the second half when they were reduced to 10 men. Defender Akashdeep Singh was shown a second yellow by referee Jatinder Singh in the 49th minute for pulling Bhumij back near the touchline.
Desperate for an equaliser, Real Kashmir head coach Mehrajuddin Wadoo brought on Girik Khosla, who had played just 13 minutes this season, to reinforce the Snow Leopards’ attack and he started to cause RoundGlass Punjab some trouble with his pace down the left wing.
In the 70th minute, striker Ibrahim Nurudeen, who netted a brace in Real Kashmir’s previous win over Sreenidi Deccan, blasted a long-range attempt just millimetres over Kiran Limbu’s goal.
Spirited attacks from the home side roused the Srinagar crowd but yet another sending off in the backline, Lamine Moro this time, extinguished all hopes of a comeback. The Real Kashmir skipper, Akashdeep, was shown a second yellow in the 77th minute for a sloppy challenge from behind on Brandon.
The Snow Leopards still had one last opportunity to equalise in injury time as Khosla let fly a half-volley over the target after RoundGlass Punjab failed to deal with a loose ball inside the box.
The result lifted RoundGlass Punjab up to third in the table with 13 points from six games. Real Kashmir are still league leaders with 16 points from their seven matches.
AIFF Media Release