Chencho Gleytsehn's 37th minute strike helped Punjab FC register a hard-fought 1-0 win over Real Kashmir FC in an I-League match at the Kalyani Municipal Stadium here on Sunday. With both Real Kashmir and Punjab FC out of the title race, the two teams were playing for pride. The match could have ended with more goals, had the goalkeepers of respective teams not been in inspired form.
In the 4th minute, Real Kashmir had the chance to take the lead when Haroon Amiri found Lalrindika Ralte inside the box. Ralte set himself perfectly with a nimble touch, but his shot was saved miraculously by goalkeeper Kiran Limbu. Punjab had their chance in the 11th minute when Aakash Sangwan's swirling cross was met by a thunderous Chencho Gleytsen header but it lacked accuracy as a golden opportunity went amiss.
Punjab came close to taking the lead in the 20th minute when goalkeeper Mithun Samanta made a world-class save from close range to deny Pritam Singh's effort from inside the box. Nine minutes later, Chencho's curling shot from the edge of the box was saved by Samanta's fingertips.
Real Kashmir tested their luck in front of the opposition goal in the 33rd minute when Dipanda Dicka's header off a Sena Ralte free-kick was saved by Kiran Limbu. Punjab FC then took the lead in the 37th minute when Chencho capitalised on a Pritam Singh pass inside the box and released a shot into the bottom corner, leaving Mithun Samanta wrong-footed, to make the scoreline read 1-0.
Real Kashmir were largely pinned to their own half, defending and for much of the second phase, the Snow Leopards had no answer for their rivals attacking style of football. Real Kashmir pushed for the equaliser in the dying embers of the match and Chesterpaul Lyngdoh's shot in the 88th minute earned a good save by Kiran Limbu, but the Snow Leopards eventually ran out of steam.