Gnohere Krizo scored the solitary goal as Real Kashmir debuted with the 1-0 defeat of defending champions Minerva Punjab at the Tau Devi Lal Stadium in Panchkula on Wednesday.
Making its debut in the elite league following its promotion from the second division I-League, Real Kashmir showed tremendous grit and determination to hold its own despite relentless attacks from Minerva Punjab, who after their draw against Churchill Brothers in their opening league matches, were looking for a win.
The reigning champions started better and used their one-year experience to maximum to push Kashmir back in the early exchanges. Kouame Kouassi Alexandre then went close to scoring in the 11th minute but his weak shot was easily saved by the Kashmir custodian Bilal Hussein Khan. The former Gokulam Kerala gaffer would go on to become Kashmir’s hero in their opening evening in the I-League.
.@realkashmirfc, in their very first match of @ILeagueOfficial history, grab all three points against reigning champions @minervapunjabfc. #MPFCRKFC #HeroILeague #ILeagueIConquer pic.twitter.com/4vOzB6U3II
— Hero I-League (@ILeagueOfficial) October 31, 2018
Kashmir’s only opportunity came against the run of play after Krizo set Aaron Katebe through on goal, but Minerva custodian Bhaskar Roy came out of his line to make the clearance.
But again it was Minerva, who had the better opportunity to score when Makan Chote was clear on goal but his shot was brilliantly saved by Khan at the brink of half-time as both sides went into the break goalless.
Minerva continued the second half in a similar way flooding balls into the Kashmir box and nearly scored through Alexandre but crossbar came to the visitors’ rescue before Khan stopped William Opoku’s shot from the rebound.
They would eventually pay for their lacklustre performance in front of goal when Krizo sneaked one into goal in the 74th minute to give the debutants their first goal in the league. Farhan Ganie back-headed a ball from a throw-in into the Ivorian’s path, who turned goalkeeper Roy before blasting a shot into the net.
The goal spurred Kashmir and they have had a second when Krizo set up Katebe but the Zambian was denied by the woodwork. The Warriors then soaked up the pressure while Minerva was hurt by Alexandre, who constantly strayed into off-side position killing most of the home team’s moves.
Image Source: Twitter/I-League