Surchandra Singh scored an important equaliser helping Real Kashmir climb to second in the point standings following their 1-1 draw against Golkulam at the Kozhikode Stadium on Saturday.
Kashmir remained second to leaders Chennai City, who with 17 from seven games are three points clear at the top. Kashmir has played eight matches. Gokulam leapfrogged East Bengal and Mohun Bagan – who meet in the Kolkata derby tomorrow – on sixth with 10 points after eight rounds.
Gokulam recovered well after being pushed behind by a barrage of attacks from the visiting side. The first opportunity of the game fell for them in the 12th minute when Arjun Jayaraj’s powerful strike from outside the box rattled the crossbar. That was the first proper attacking move Gokulam had made as wide-right Pritam Singh exchanged some quality passes with striker Joel Sunday and Jayaraj.
Eight minutes later, Gokulam breached the Kashmiri defence and once again it was the good connection of their front three. This time Jayaraj sent Pritam through with a lovely ball inside the box from which the right-winger found the target after hit shot took deflected off Abahsh Thapa’s outstretched legs.
They came close to doubling the lead in the 52nd minute when Sunday found Jayaraj down the right. The 22-year-old dribbled his way into the box before laying onto a lovely cross for Pritam, whose header was saved by Kashmir goalkeeper Bilal Khan.
Meanwhile, Kashmir steadily regained composure and launched attacks one more time. They could have equalised in the 63rd minute but Abednego Tetteh headed wide from free-kick despite being completely free.
Then Mason Robertson found fellow centre-back Loveday Enyinnaya from a corner but the Nigerian’s cross into the box evaded everyone. But the constant pressure on Gokulam’s back-line eventually helped Kashmir find a breakthrough. Latching onto a pass from Tetteh, Surchandra curled home a fantastic strike into the top left corner of the net.