I-League: Real Kashmir held to goalless draw by 10-man Churchill Brothers
Debutants Real Kashmir FC were held to a goalless draw by Churchill Brothers in their maiden home match at the TRC Turf Ground in Srinagar on Tuesday.
Just days after stunning defending champions Minerva Punjab in their debut match in the I-League, Real Kashmir were fancied to overcome the out-of-form Churchill, who were cut down to 10-men at the brink of half-time after goalkeeper James Kithan was shown a straight red for handling the ball outside his box.
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But despite the draw, Kashmir leaped to third on four points from two matches, while moved to fifth with three points from as many matches.
Both sides started well and were looking to dominate the midfield but it was Real Kashmir who came the closest to scoring only to struck the post twice.
The first of them came through Danish Farooq, who beat the goalkeeper but failed to clear the crossbar after getting to the end of a brilliant cross from Brian Mascarenhas.
Churchill’s only opportunity arose when Lamgoulen Hangashing was presented with an open header from an Israil Gurung cross but the midfielder headed wide from a close range.
But as much as the missed opportunity hurt the visitors, it was a moment of madness from goalkeeper Kithan that hurt them more. Rushing out of his line to stop Gnohere Krizo, who was through on goal, Kithan handled the ball outside the penalty box prompting referee Tanmoy Dhar into giving him marching orders in the final minute of half-time.
Kashmir tried to make most of the one-man advantage in the second half but their long ball strategy failed to inspire them. The best opportunity came in the 64th minute when Krizo cut in from the left flank before firing a shot that unfortunately once again struck the upright to keep Churchill alive in the game.
It kept Kashmir unbeaten after their first two matches in the top-division football.
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