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I-League: Sreenidi Deccan ease past Churchill Brothers, Real Kashmir stun Mohammedans

Sreenidi Deccan defeated Churchill Brothers while Mohammedans conceded three from Real Kashmir.

I-League: Sreenidi Deccan ease past Churchill Brothers, Real Kashmir stun Mohammedans

David Casteneda of Sreenidi Deccan 


Aswathy Santhosh

Published: 4 Feb 2024 5:05 PM GMT

Sreenidi Deccan beat Churchill Brothers

It took a late winner from Eli Sabia for Sreenidi Deccan to beat Churchill Brothers at the Tilak Maidan on February 4, 2023. The late goal kept Sreenidi’s dreams of a first I-League title intact, even as they trail far behind Mohammedan Sporting on the points table.

In a fairly tempered start, it was Sreenidi Deccan who controlled most of the tempo, their passing and midfield gile leaving Churchill’s enforcers in the cold. In a series of setpieces early in the game, Sreenidi showed their aerial threat, imposing themselves on a fairly flaccid Churchill defence.

The first goal duly, and deservedly, arrived in the 11th minute, David Castaneda heading in from a mere two yards from Rilwan Hassan’s cross from the right. Despite Castaneda taking the applause, it was the latter’s inch-perfect cross that really set up the simple finish.

Castaneda had a chance to double his and the team’s tally on the half-hour mark, latching on to another cross from the right flank, from point-blank range. Somehow, Bilal Khan was at the right place at the right time and palmed it out. Churchill finally created something remotely worthwhile, deep in first-half injury time, Rahul Raju cutting in to fire into a crowd of Sreenidi defenders as the ball bounced to safety. It was the best they had.

In a much-improved second-half performance, Churchill finally started putting the Sreenidi defence under pressure, but lacked composure in the final third to really test the goalkeeper. It took till the 84th minute for them to get a clear-cut chance, and they did not let it go to waste.

Picking up the ball in midfield, Stendly Fernandes played a brilliant through ball to Elhadji Karim Samb. Churchill’s latest signing ran through before finishing deftly past Albino Gomes to serve up the equaliser.

Just when it seemed the game was done, Sreenidi provided some late drama, deep in injury time. From Lalromawia’s cross Eli Sabia headed the ball into the bottom left to spark wild celebrations and ensure Sreenidi’s faltering title dreams survived — for now.

Real Kashmir stun Mohammedans

Real Kashmir returned to winning ways in the I-League as they defeated a 10-man Mohammedan Sporting 3-0 at the Naihati Bankimanjali Stadium in West Bengal on Sunday, February 4.

For Real Kashmir, Gnohere Krizo scored a brace after Shaher Shaheen netted the opening goal. All three goals came in the second half. Mohammedan Sporting’s Joseph Adjei was given marching orders in the second half.

The win helped Real Kashmir move to the second spot in the points table with 23 points from 12 matches, including seven wins, two draws and three losses. They also reduced the gap with leaders Mohammedan Sporting, who are on 27 points from 12 matches with eight wins, three draws, and one loss.

The last time both these sides played a match was back on December 24, 2023, before the I-League went on a month-long break.

Neither side managed to pose significant threats or create significant opportunities in the first 20 minutes.

However, egged on by a boisterous crowd, Mohammedan Sporting players found their groove as the match progressed. They began to create more opportunities, though initially, Samuel Lalmuanpuia couldn’t capitalise on the first real chance of the match, sending his shot wide of the goal.

The team continued to press, and a notable moment came when Wahengam Angousana Luwang set up David Lalhlansanga for what looked to be a promising shot. Unfortunately for Mohammedan Sporting, Lalhlansanga’s effort narrowly missed the target, highlighting their growing threat but also their initial inability to finish clinically.

Real Kashmir, on the other hand, took time to settle down into their rhythm. They soaked in the pressure from Mohammedan Sporting in the first half and turned things around in style in the second.

The Snow Leopards’ breakthrough came from a set-piece in the 55th minute. Carlos Alberto Silva Lomba delivered a corner kick from the left. Shaher Shaheen met the ball with a well-timed header that caught the Mohammedan Sporting defenders off guard and secured the lead for his side.

Real Kashmir extended their lead in the 65th minute from a set-piece again. Carlos Alberto Silva Lomba was the provider once more as he floated a corner from the right. This time, Gnohere Krizo showed his skill and beat his marker to meet the ball and his shot took a wicked deflection to find the back of the net.

In an incident that could only be induced by the frustration of being 0-2 behind at home, Mohammedan defender Ajdei received his second booking of the match for reacting to a tackle, thus leaving his side one man less after receiving his marching orders.

The Srinagar-based side sealed the tie in the dying minutes of the match when they earned a penalty. Mirjalol Kasimov committed a foul on Mohammad Inam and the referee Aditya Purkayastha immediately pointed to the spot. Krizo stepped up and converted from the spot to score his seventh goal of the tournament.

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