Sudeva Delhi picked up their second point of the season as they played out a 1-1 draw against Real Kashmir FC in the Hero I-League 2022-23 match at the Chhattrasal Stadium in New Delhi on Thursday, January 12, 2023.
In a game that lacked tempo in the first half, it was Sudeva Delhi who took the lead early in the second session through an exquisite free-kick taken by Seilenthang Lotjem. The lead was later cancelled out right at the depth by a powerful volley from substitute Samuel Kynshi as Real Kashmir managed to salvage a draw, denying the hosts to get three points in a match for the first time in the season.
It was the home team that enjoyed better exchanges of play in the initial minutes, however, failing to create any goal-scoring chances. There was a tussle in the middle of the park, where the Sudeva midfield, led by their Nigerian recruit Akeem Abioye, were kept busy dealing with the Real Kashmir trio of captain Yakubu Wadudu along with Nuriddin Davronov and Lalnuntluanga Bawitlung.
Sudeva offered no space to the Real Kashmir midfield but in process, they had to play from the back, reverting to a long ball strategy, which remained ineffective for the most parts as the striker Francis Uchenna Nwankwo was well marked by the defensive pair of Jestin George and Balwinder Singh.
The best chance of the half came to Real Kashmir in the 23rd minute when full-back Akashdeep Singh played a long through ball for Ibrahim Nurudeen on the left wing. The Ghanaian crossed the ball into the six-yard box for Nozim Babadzhanov, who, on any other day, would have easily tapped into an open goal from a close range but failed to do so on this occasion and skied the ball.
The second period started with newfound energy within the Sudeva camp as they took the game straight into Real Kashmir half. Francis, who remained anonymous for the majority of the first half, drifted wide to the right wing to cross the ball into the box in the 49th minute. Francis’ cross went to Hriivei Carlos Pao after Akashdeep Singh had failed to clear the ball, but, to Sanjiban Ghosh’s relief, the effort from Carlos Pao was a tame one as the Real Kashmir custodian collected it with ease.
In the next minute, Francis was again in the thick of things. This time the striker managed to get the ball around Real Kashmir’s George but was tripped by the defender as the Nigerian won a free-kick just outside the penalty area. Seilenthang Lotjem struck the free-kick with perfection as it ended up in the top corner with the goalkeeper Ghosh having no chance.
The urgency among the Real Kashmir players could be clearly seen. Defender Davinder Singh, in his attempt to win the ball, ended up receiving a yellow card, while the midfield battle between Wadudu, Bawitlung and Abioye continued and turned fierce as all three were booked near the hour mark.
In the final quarter of the game, Real Kashmir increased pressure on the rival defence. The Sudeva unit, who had shifted to a defensive mode, were able to endure most of the pressure from the Snow Leopards but lost their composure in the injury time when full-back Lalhrezuala Sailung failed to clear a cross from George which reached Samuel Kynshi as the substitute thumped the volley into the back of the net, bagging the much important point for the visitors.