I-League 2023-24: Gokulam Kerala snatch three points from Aizawl in Kozhikode cliffhanger

March 15, 2024
Matija Babovic scored a brace to help Gokulam Kerala FC beat Aizawl FC 4-3 at the EMS Corporation Stadium in Kozhikode,

Kozhikode (Kerala), March 15 (IANS) Matija Babovic scored a brace to help Gokulam Kerala FC beat Aizawl FC 4-3 at the EMS Corporation Stadium in Kozhikode, on Thursday to move to the third spot in the I-League 2023-24 table. The teams were locked 2-2 at half-time of the match, which ultimately proved to be a seven-goal thriller.

Babovic scored in the 29th and 64th minute while Nikola Stojanovic (43’) and Pitu Viera (70’) scored one each for the home side. Lalbiakdika (20’) and LAlrinzuala (84’) scored for Aizawl; Gokulam’s Akhil P. (45’) scored an own goal.

With this win, Gokulam Kerala now move up to third in the I-League table, with 36 points from 20 outings. Aizawl FC, on the other hand, remain 11 points clear of the relegation zone, having played 18 matches, with 21 points.

Gokulam Kerala were the more dominant side and showed their intent from the start as they looked to play the ball around in the Aizawl half. However, it was Aizawl, who against the run of play, took the lead in the 20th minute. Lalramsanga, on the counter, threaded a through ball to Lalbiakdika, who did well to hold off his marker, as he entered the box and coolly finished past the keeper.

Aizawl’s lead did not last long though, as Gokulam equalised just nine minutes later, when Christy Davis made an interception in the opposition half, advanced goalwards, and passed it to Matija Babovic. The Serbian forward jinked past two defenders before slotting it past the near post, to equalise.

The home side began to grow into the game, and just as everyone was getting ready for the halftime break, managed to take the lead. Nikola Stojanovic drove into the Aizawl box and unleashed a powerful left-footer that zipped into the net, again, at the near post.

Aizawl were determined, however, and soon struck back in the 45th minute. K. Lalrinfela passed it to R. Ramdinthara on the right, and the latter sent in a low cross was turned into his own goal by Gokulam’s Akhil P.

The hosts came out all guns blazing in the second half and soon had their rewards when Babovic put them back in the lead, scoring from just outside the Aizawl penalty box.

Minutes later, Pitu Viera played a brilliant one-two with Noufal P.N. to double their lead. Lalrinzuala did manage to pull one back later on in the game, giving some hope to Aizawl, but the damage was already done, as Gokulam took home the three points.

One of Gokulam Kerala’s support staff was sent off towards the end of the match, for showing dissent.

–IANS

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