It may have come a bit late in the day, but Gokulam Kerala produced one of its finest shows of the season on Saturday. Gokulam, the champion of the I-League for the last two seasons, defeated Aizawl FC 3-0.
For a side that has struggled to score, the big margin should be a relief. With the win, Gokulam has reduced the gap with the two leaders, Sreenidi Deccan and RoundGlass Punjab. Those sides are on 40 points, while Gokulam has 33.
Gokulam should thank P.N. Noufal for the three points against Aizawl. His name wasn’t on the scorers’ list, but he was a constant menace on the right wing for the Mizoram club and he set up Gokulam’s first two goals, netted by Rahul Raju and Sergio Mendigutxia. Substitute Jijo Joseph scored the other goal, right at the end, off an assist from another substitute, Joby Justin.
After squandering a few chances, Gokulam opened the scoring with 10 minutes remaining in the first half. A long ball from Farshad Nood found Noufal, who beat the defence before a superb pass back to Rahul.
Another fine assist, early in the second half, was driven hard into the net by Mendigutxia to make the score 2-0.
Gokulam Kerala 3 (Rahul Raju 35, Sergio Mendigutxia 57, Jijo Joseph 90) bt Aizawl FC 0.