In a clash between basement dwellers, Viva Kerala thrashed JCT 4-1 to collect three precious points in an I-League football match at the Municipal Jawahar Stadium here on Saturday. It was a badly-needed win for a home side fighting relegation.
P.K. Anil Kumar, who has made such a big difference to the Kochi-based team this season, was once again the star, scoring two goals; he has taken his tally to 10 in the league and remains the leading scorer among Indians.
P. Sajesh and T. Karma netted the other goals, while Ajay Singh reduced the margin for the visiting side from Phagwara.
Viva now has 18 points from 20 games, while JCT, which has played two games less, has 14.
It was indeed the Kochi-based club that showed more aggression from the beginning, putting the JCT goal under constant pressure.
The floodgates were opened in the 19th minute by Sajesh, who was also later named ‘Man of the Match.' From close in, he slotted in the rebound off the JCT custodian Naveen Kumar, who could not control the strike from Karma.
Karma made it 2-0, in the 47th minute, driving in, from inside the box, the through ball from Anil down the right.
Ajay's header, in the 69th minute, gave some hope for the visitor as it made the score 2-1, but Viva continued to attack.
Anil widened the lead for Viva in the 82nd minute.
He made JCT pay for some patchy defence. The JCT defenders actually made the job a lot easier for Viva on this day. Then, in injury time, Anil capped off a fine afternoon, heading home a neatly-taken free-kick by N.P. Pradeep from 10 yards outside the box.
The results: Viva Kerala 4 (P.K. Anil Kumar 2, P. Sajesh, T. Karma) bt JCT 1 (Ajay Singh) .