I-League 2019-20: Real Kashmir FC Mark First Home Game With Win Over Chennai City FC
I-League 2019-20: Danish Farooq and Bazzie Armand scored as Real Kashmir FC beat Chennai City FC 2-1.
Local hero Danish Farooq scored Real Kashmir's first goal against Chennai City FC. (Photo Credit: @ILeagueOfficial)
Srinagar: Real Kashmir registered their first victory of the I-League 2019-20 season and did that in front of their home fans as they defending champions Chennai City 2-1 at the TRC Turf Ground in Srinagar on Thursday. Local hero Danish Farooq (22nd minute) and Ivorian Bazzie Armand (27th) scored for RKFC while Chennai reduced the margin through Syed Suhail Pasha.
With the win, Real Kashmir jumped to the seventh spot with five points from three matches while Chennai dropped to eighth with five from five games. It was RKFC's first home match of the league. They were supposed to play their first home match in Srinagar on December 12 but due to heavy snowfall that forced the closing of Srinagar airport, their successive home games against Gokulam Kerala FC and Churchill Brothers (Dec 15) were postponed. This was also the first sports event in the valley since the abrogation of Article 370.
Commenting on the victory, Real Kashmir FC co-founder Sandeep Chattoo said, "It was a splendid win and we did it for Kashmir". The coach and the team ensured that every Kashmiri returned smiling today back home."
Farooq Khan, Advisor to Lt Governor of Jammu and Kashmir, witnessed the match and complimented both the teams for enthralling Kashmiris with an excellent football show.
@realkashmirfc @HeroMotoCorp of the match Danish Farooq: It feels really good to score at home, especially because of the fans #RKFCCCFC ⚔ #HeroILeague #LeagueForAll #IndianFootball ⚽ pic.twitter.com/4ImfiOf3Mb
— Hero I-League (@ILeagueOfficial) December 26, 2019
RKFC were faster off the blocks and create a couple of chances early on to take the lead. Armand missed a golden opportunity in the 13th minute when Kallum Higginbotham went on a brilliant run on the right of the box to put in a ball in the middle, which was flicked into his path and all he had to do is get a clean head to it. Chennai City FC keeper Santana also pulled off a couple of big saves to deny the home team.
In the 22nd minute however, Real Kashmir took the lead through Danish. Higginbotham whipped in a brilliant cross from the right flank into the middle and Danish rose it to it and got a fantastic header to it to put RKFC ahead.
The first goal helped RKFC gain control of the proceedings and Higginbotham ran the show from the centre of the pitch. Chennai found it difficult to deal with his crosses from both flanks. One such probing delivery led to the second goal in the 27th minute, where Armand did not make another miss and rose above two defenders to direct his header into the top corner.
Soon after, Mason Robertson was released by another Higginbotham through pass but as he was being closed down by a Chennai defender and Santana, Robertson went for a far post but his shot went just wide.
Chennai prodded a lot to get a goal before the half time whistle but were outplayed by the home team and the half time scoreline read 2-0 in favour of Real Kashmir.
However, Chennai got an ideal start to the second half as he got a goal back in the 48th minute. Syed Suhail Pasha nodded home after Pravitto Raju flicked a bouncing ball towards him.
Despite Chennai's newfound surge, it was Kashmir however who looked likelier to score the next goal.
In the 68th minute, the game should have been put to bead but Loveday Okechukwu, who was completely unmarked failed to tap in another Higinbotham set-piece, blasting it high and wide.
In the closing stages of the game, the visitors failed to stitch together any real threat as the Snow Leopards held on to register the win, duly rewarding the Srinagar aficionados who braved the cold to get firmly behind their team.
Real Kashmir's next match is at home against Mohun Bagan on January 5, 2020. Chennai City will next travel to Calicut for a game against Gokulam Kerala FC on January 9, 2020.
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