Sreenidi Deccan beat defending champions Gokulam Kerala 1-0 in the 2022-23 I-League 4th round match at Deccan Arena in Hyderabad on Sunday.
After a series of missed chances at both ends, the tall goalkeeper in the second half by Faisal Chaisteh proved the winner as Gokulam Kerala stumbled to their first defeat of the season.
Sreenidi Deccan started the match on an attacking note and earned five corners in the first five minutes of the match but didn’t make any use of set pieces. Ramhlunchhunga showed high energy for the home team earlier in the match and came close to scoring in the 16th minute. He found himself on the right of the six-yard box with ample space to shoot but failed to connect cleanly as his effort went wide without bothering anyone.
Mohamed Awal, a Serenade player from Ghana, panicked his team midway through the first half. His cross clearance found Auguste Bom Sumlaga, who almost scored but the Ghanaian recovered just in time to block the shot from a corner kick. The best chance of the first half came in the 27th minute for Gokulam when Nouval PN crossed from the right to find Zahir Zaman whose shot was saved with a last cool save by Arijit Bagoy as Srinidhi goalkeeper Aaryan Niraj Lamba received the ball. .
The midfield trio of Faisal Chaisteh, Mayakannan and Konsam Phalguni Singh dominated the play for Srinidhi and launched the attacks, but Gokulam’s defensive duo of captain Aminu Bubba and Pawan Kumar managed to prevent any real threat to their goal.
The second half started on a quick note. Right from the start of the first half, Gokulam continued to attack as Zaman fired home from outside the penalty area that went wide into the top corner. Three minutes later, Sumlaga dribbled past the Awal goal and fired a shot that went just over the bar.
On the other hand, Chaistee held Malabares on the counter in the 50th minute when he gave a pass to Falguni Singh, but the midfielder volleyed a somewhat disappointing shot on target that went nowhere. Eventually, the Deccan Warriors broke the deadlock in the 63rd minute when Falguni Singh tapped a pass to Chaisth, who fired a low shot into the goal, beating Gokulam goalkeeper Chippinraj Konyil from range.
Six minutes after scoring, Falguni Singh hit another powerful shot from inside the penalty area. His attempt was blocked by Kunniyil under the crossbar. Ramhlunchhunga remained a constant problem for Gokulam’s defense with his passes through both sides. He received continuous support from his family.
Gokulam showed a sense of urgency in their search for an equalizer but couldn’t create any big chances as Sreenidi’s defense stood firm with Owal proving to be a rock on the home side. After this victory, Sreenidi Deccan has won three of its four matches and has nine points on the table. Gokulam Kerala conceded their first goal of the season as they now have seven points on the table with two wins and a draw in their four matches.
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