Tiddim Road Athletic Union prevailed over Gokulam Kerala by a solitary goal at Khuman Lampak Stadium here on Thursday, March 2, 2023, climbing up to the fourth spot on the Hero I-League 2022-23 table.
The home side looked like the more enterprising team on the pitch for most parts of the match. The defending champions could hardly match the energy of the local side and their creativity in the attacking third. However, the goal took a long time to come.
It was the 59th minute of the encounter. Meitalkeishangbam Roger Khuman delivered a perfect corner from the left flank to the far post and Salam Johnson Singh headed it down to the centre of the box, where Gerson Vieira slid in to find the net.
Not just Vieira and Salam Johnson, but all the TRAU attackers and midfielders had a good outing, negating the threat of Gokulam’s Spanish forward Sergio Mendiguchia. However, the Malabarians could have taken an early lead in the 12th minute. It was Tanmoy Ghosh’s free-kick into the penalty box that saw Aminou Bouba head it powerfully, but straight onto TRAU goalkeeper Jedidi Haokip’s chest. It spilled out but Abdul Hakku could not take advantage of the ricochet, blowing it well over.
The first half ended goalless, but TRAU came out all guns blazing in after the breather. They increased the pressure after scoring in the 59th minute and but for yet another stellar show by Shibinraj Kunniyil at the Gokulam goal, the Kerala side could have lost by a bigger margin.
Hero of the Match Salam Johnson unleashed a scorching left-footer from just outside the box in the 62nd minute. It was going in, but Shibinraj threw himself into the air to tip it over the horizontal.
Even substitute Ningthoujam Pritam Singh came close to scoring in the 77th minute. He had a superb run down the middle on a counter-attack, then played a wall pass with Brazilian midfielder Fernando just outside the Gokulam box to create shooting space. But the shot was way off target.
Gokulam got a clear chance to equalise in the 85th minute, when Eldar Moldozhunusov’s cross from the left found Shijin T right at the goalmouth, but he failed to give his header the right direction.
This win took TRAU to 32 points from 20 matches in the Hero I-League, while Gokulam remained on 33, eight points behind second-placed Sreenidi Deccan FC. With 46 points in their pocket, RoundGlass Punjab are placed comfortably at the top.
AIFF Media Release