Football

Inconsistent Gokulam takes on confident Kashmir

Marcus Joseph and Henry Kisekka have to fire again for the host

Gokulam Kerala is easily one of the stronger sides in the I-League, but it has not quite been able to translate that reputation into performance. Take for instance its match against TRAU last weekend; it had to settle for a draw despite taking an early lead and dominating the match.

The host will have to come up with a better show if it has to return to winning ways in its match on Saturday. Its rival Real Kashmir is no pushover.

It is not just one of the most inspiring stories coming out of Indian sport in recent times, it is quite a formidable side, too. It is placed sixth in table with 12 points. Gokulam has 14 points and is fourth but has played a match more.

Fernando Santiago Valera’s boys have to show more consistency if they want to mount a serious challenge for the title. After beating East Bengal 3-1 — perhaps their best win yet of the season — they lost 1-3 to Punjab, defeated Churchill Brothers 1-0 and drew 1-1 with TRAU.

Boost

Real Kashmir will start in a more confident frame of mind, having won both its last matches. It had scored identical 2-0 wins over Indian Arrows and Aizawl, both away encounters. The addition to the squad of striker Robin Singh and defender Rena Salton — both loaned from ISL side Hyderabad FC — is a boost.

Kashmir’s coach David Robertson said Gokulam was a tough rival. “They were built up as one of the favourites for the title this season,” he told The Hindu. “But they have had ups and downs this season, like us.”

Gokulam must be hoping that Saturday’s match will be one of the ups. For that to happen, Marcus Joseph and Henry Kisekka, the two imports who have formed one of the most lethal combinations up front in the I-League, may have to continue with their scoring spree. Together they have netted 10 of their team’s 12 goals.

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Printable version | Feb 20, 2020 1:01:17 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/sport/football/inconsistent-gokulam-takes-on-confident-kashmir/article30763544.ece

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