Gokulam Kerala FC Get Dominating Win, Chennai City FC Lose to Malaysian Club in Sheikh Kamal International Club Cup
Sheikh Kamal International Club Cup: Gokulam Kerala FC beat the Bangladesh Premier League champions while Chennai City went down to Terengganu FC.
Gokulam Kerala FC (Photo Credit: Gokulam Kerala/Twitter)
New Delhi: Gokulam Kerala FC began their Sheikh Kamal International Club Cup with a dominating 3-1 win against the Bangladesh Premier League champions Bashundhara Kings at the MA Aziz Stadium in Chittagong on Tuesday.
Their win came hours after I-League 2018-19 champions Chennai City FC lost their opener 5-3 to Malaysian club Terengganu FC. On October 20, Mohun Bagan also lost their opener 2-1 to Young Elephant FC from Laos.
Gokulam Kerala FC, which is the first club from Kerala to play in an AFC-recognised tournament - gave an excellent account of themselves about two months after winning Durand Cup back home.
Henry Kisekka scored twice while Nathaniel Garcia scored a stunner to get Gokulam off to a winning start. Earlier in the day, Chennai City's defence was their undoing and the lack of game time and training showed in their play as they were unable to handle the movement of Terengganu forward Bruno Castanheiro, who scored four goals to win the match 5-3 for Terengganu.
Gokulam started the match on the up and as early as the sixth minute, Gokulam had a shot from a free kick straight at the Bashundhara keeper who collected it with ease.
Thereafter, much of the game was played in the midfield with both Gokulam Kerala and Bashundhara creating a number of chances. The Gokulam defence of Andre Ettienne, Jestin George and Mohammad Irshad did excellently to clear everything that came their way.
In the 24th minute of the match, Bashundhara played a defence splitting pass but Mohamad Kdouh was caught offside and Gokulam survived. Just a minute later, Nathaniel played a brilliant ball in the centre that Henry picked up and slotted it in with ease to put Gokulam in the lead.
In the 27th minute, Rahman is almost through on goal but a brilliant last-minute sliding tackle from Andre saved Gokulam. Three minutes later, as Gokulam were on the attack, they earned a free kick off a handball outside the box. Nathaniel stood on the ball for the free kick and smashed a beautiful curler into the far right corner to put Gokulam 2-0 up.
Gokulam did not rest on the two-goal lead and just a minute after the break, Nathaniel was in the Bashundhara box fighting off two defenders and managed to pass the ball off to his left at the goalmouth and an onrushing Henry found the back of the net.
In front of a vociferous home crowd, Bashundhara had been dominated by Gokulam but they kept on going for their chances.
They found some respite in the 74th minute when Gokulam failed to clear the ball from their box and in the third attempt, Bashundhara's No.9 Motin Mia got one back for the home team.
Bashundhara did go hard for an unlikely comeback and put Gokulam under immense pressure in the last 15 minute of the game.
Gokulam's keeper Ubaid CK pulled off three excellent saves in the last 12 minutes to take Gokulam to victory. Ubaid paried away two Bashundhara powerful strikes for corner while collected a powerful long distance shot in the 87th minute.
Gokulam eventually held on for a historic victory against the Bangladesh Premier League champions to get their campaign off to a winning start.
HOW TERENGGANU BEAT CHENNAI CITY
Terengganu FC found the first goal as early as the fifth minute when the Chennai City FC was caught napping and Lee Tuck found midfielder Rahmat Makasuf, who slotted the ball home to give the lead to the Malaysian club. And just five minutes into their opener, the I-League champions were chasing the game.
After going a goal down, Chennai City started pushing bodies up front and started creating more and more chances with the Terengganu midfield looking increasingly unsure.
Even though Chennai started getting into the game, Terengganu stayed extremely dangerous up front with the Chennai defenders constantly having to be alert to intercept and pull off crucial blocks.
In the 28th minute, with Teragganu passing the ball near their goal. The keeper passed towards Tuck but Katsumi Yusi intercepted the ball and scored the equaliser for Chennai City.
Chennai then took the lead in the 34th minute when Mashoor took advantage of a defensive blunder from Terengganu. The keeper failed to make a routine collect close to the corner line and as the ball slipped away, Mashoor was at the right place at the right time and shot the ball into an empty net.
However, just four minutes later Teragganu shot right back to go level with Chennai. Rahmat fended off two Chennai defenders on the right of the box and played a perfect pass to the far corner where a diving Bruno Castanheira headed into the empty net.
In the 42nd minute, Pedro made a darting run into the box and he was about to go for goal, he went down appealing for penalty but the referee waived it off. Replays showed that the defender had made a contact with the ball first but he had his leg stuck out as Pedro was looking to run away with the ball.
Just when it looked like the scoreboard would remain level at half time, Bruno got his second with a delightful chip over Nauzet to give Terengganu a lead.
The second half began with both teams keeping up with the open play, trying to stay on attack but it was Bruno once again who made the difference for the Malaysian club.
In the 65th minute, Bruno completed his hat-trick as he made another run behind the Chennai defence and found the back of the net with ease.
In the 71st minute, Nauzet pulled off a stunning save as Lee Tuck went for a powerful shot on target to keep Chennai just about alive.
However, his work was undone by his defence once more as Bruno scored his fourth goal of the evening in the 81st minute to put the game to bed. Once again, Bruno received a brilliant ball from the right and he made a perfect run behind the defence to connect with the ball and slot it home. No one from that defence of four was tracking Bruno.
Terengganu threatened the Chennai goal every now and then before Pedro Manzi scored off a penalty in the 87th minute to reduce the lead a bit. Chennai earned the penalty courtesy a handball offence and Pedro made no mistake from the spot but it came a little too late.
With the schedule of I-League 2019-20 yet to be released, Chennai City FC have not had too many training session and the lack of cohesion in their defence was exposed by the pin-point passing from Terengganu.
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