KOCHI: Gokulam Kerala FC proved too strong for the young Shillong Lajong FC as they muscled their way to win their third home game 3-1 in the I-League on Sunday.
Gani Nigam (43rd minute), Antonio German (56th) and Rajesh S (66th) scored for Gokulam while Phrangki Buam (78th) was the lone scorer for Shillong Lajong FC.
Gokulam Kerala FC went on the offence from the first minute. Their first effort to score happened in the third minute when Suhair V P made a fine cross from the left but before German could find the space to head it, Lajong’s Aiban made a fine diving interception to clear the ball out of danger.
Both the teams were playing attacking football, but it was Gokulam Kerala who created chances more often to land in a strong scoring position.
Shillong Lajong looked more organized all throughout with a fantastic defence line and an equally agile goalkeeper in Neithovilie who blocked and cleared all scoring opportunities for Gokulam Kerala.
Lajong’s forward line also played an impressive game in the first half making some dangerous attempts but failed to convert any thanks to some fine saves from Kerala’s Shibinraj.
A foul in the 42nd minute from Shillong Lajong’s Novin on Gokulam Kerala’s Brazilian midfielder Castro ended up in a free kick for the home side. A minute later when Castro took this free kick from outside the box, Gani Ahmed made no mistakes in collecting the ball and finding the back of the net giving Gokulam Kerala FC a much-deserved lead in the game.
The second half began with the home side continuing their attack but their attempts were duly foiled by the Lajong defenders, but not for long.
In the 56th minute, Antonio German found the back of the net for Gokulam Kerala FC to give them a comfortable two-goal lead in the game.
Gokulam, thereafter, shifted gears with most of the game happening in Lajong’s half. The young Lajong defenders were kept busy by Gokulam forwards when a brilliant cross from Gani Ahmed in the 66th minute inside the box saw Rajesh find the back of the net through a flying kick.