AIFF Media Team
Real Kashmir FC – 1 (Gnohere Krizo 62’)
Punjab FC – 1 (Makan Chothe 21’)
Srinagar, January 10, 2020: TheHero I-League today, witnessed a breath-taking encounter in the valley of Kashmir as the Snow Leopards played out a thrilling draw against Punjab FC in front of a packed house with over 8,500 spectators filling up the stands to support the home team.
The match was a story of two halves as the first belonged to the visitors who enjoyed a 62 per cent possession of the ball, whereas the second belonged to the home team.
With the draw, Punjab FC are now placed third on the table with 10 points from seven games. Real Kashmir FC remain eighth with six from five.
Both the teams were looking to gain an early advantage in the match and luck shone on Punjab FC with 21 minutes ticking on the clock.
Confusion in the Real Kashmir box because of a long ball from Punjab, opened up an opportunity for Makan Winkle Chothe the U-22 forward and he made no mistake and smashed the ball into the back of the net to give the visitors an early lead in the match.
As the fans cheered on, Real Kashmir created a flurry of chances, but none of them could find the back of the net. To the disappointment of the spectators, Punjab were able to hold on to their slender lead heading into the tunnel. The score at half-time stood at 1-0 in Punjab’s favour.
The second half resumed with Real Kashmir kicking – off the half. Real Kashmir were pressing high up the field and pressurising Punjab.
In the 56th minute, Real Kashmir playmaker Kallum Higginbotham cut through two defenders on the left side of the Punjab box and the ball fell to Mason Robertson, whose shot was too weak to trouble the Punjab goalkeeper.
Soon after, it was Danish Farooq who tried a curler from a distance but the shot didn’t have enough bend to trouble the Punjab goal. The home team’s effort finally paid off in the 62nd minute, a miscalculated header by Danilo Augusto fell at the feet of Gnohere Krizo, who was one-on-one with the keeper and made no mistake to strike the ball into the opponent’s goal to score the equaliser.
Real Kashmir were looking in their groove now, and Kallum came in from the right with a beautiful low cross across the face of the goal but Mason couldn’t get a touch as the chance went begging.
The duo of Kallum and Mason were proving difficult for Punjab to deal with. In the 82nd minute, a beautiful long ball by Kallum found the head of a towering Mason, but the effort went just over the crossbar.
Within a few moments, Punjab again had their hearts in their mouth as a Chesterpoul Lyngdoh’s cross from the right side hit the arm of Thoiba Singh and the whole stadium went into a massive appeal for a penalty. To everyone’s disappointment, the call was turned down by the referee.
In the dying moments of the match, Real Kashmir kept the pressure on but couldn’t break the Punjab defence as the match ended in a 1-1 draw. Gnohere Krizo of Real Kashmir FC walked away with the Hero of the Match award for his splendid goal.