I-League 2023-24: Late Goals See Real Kashmir Overtake Sreenidi Deccan For Second Spot


(MENAFN- IANS) Hyderabad, March 4 (IANS) Gnohere Krizo scored a brace as Real Kashmir FC prevailed 3-2 over hosts Sreenidi Deccan FC in a thrilling I-League match at the Deccan Arena here on Monday. The win not only highlighted Real Kashmir's capability to secure crucial points away from home but also maintained their pursuit of the I-League title.

While Krizo took his goal tally to 12 in the I-League, Real Kashmir's other goal was scored by Ifham Tariq Mir. For Sreenidi Deccan, Rilwan Olanrewaju Hassan and Eli Sabia were the scorers. The Deccan Warriors though lost the plot in the match when they were reduced to 10 men after Mohammad Sajid Dhot was given marching orders in the 86th minute. The win took Real Kashmir to the second spot in the I-League table. They have 33 points from 17 matches with 10 wins, three draws and four losses and are five points adrift of leaders Mohammedan Sporting.

Meanwhile, Sreenidi Deccan have the same points after playing an identical number of matches but are third in the standings due to an inferior head-to-head record. The meeting between these two sides in Srinagar back in December had finished goalless.

Real Kashmir's defensive prowess has been a defining characteristic of their performance in the league. They had also conceded the least number of goals – eight – in the league going into the match. On Monday, Real Kashmir's defensive tactics were once again on full display in the first half. They effectively neutralised the attacking threats posed by Sreenidi Deccan, maintaining a compact and impenetrable back line.

The Snow Leopards were also far more clinical in front of the goal and took the lead in the added minutes of the first half. Mohammad Asrar Rehbar sent in a long ball towards the right flank, finding Henry Kisekka in space. The Ugandan midfielder then delivered a cross into the penalty box and forward Gnohere Krizo did well to get to the end of the ball. The Ivory Coast striker turned quickly and shook off his marker Mohammad Sajid Dhot to create the necessary space for himself. He then controlled the ball and unleashed a left-footer that zoomed past an onrushing Sreenidi Deccan goalkeeper Albino Gomes.

Having taken the lead, Real Kashmir started the second half with more confidence and created a couple of decent chances but failed to convert them. These missed attempts came back to haunt Real Kashmir as Sreenidi Deccan capitalised on a momentary lapse in the Real Kashmir defense to equalise in the 58th minute. Gabriel released Lalnuntluanga Bawitlung with a brilliant through ball on the left before the midfielder cutback across the face of Real Kashmir's goal for a rushing Sreenidi Deccan forward Rilwan Olanrewaju Hassan. The Nigerian didn't make any mistake as he slotted the ball into an open net.

Sreenidi Deccan extended their lead three minutes later in another rare mistake by the Real Kashmir defence. Jeremy Laldinpuia lost the ball in his own half and Hassan seized the opportunity with both hands. He sent in a looping cross into the box and Eli Sabia jumped above his marker to head home. The match continued to be fraught with drama as another crucial moment came in the 86th minute when Sreenidi Deccan were reduced to 10 men. Mohammad Sajid Dhot received his second yellow card of the game for a rough challenge on Krizo.

From the ensuing free-kick, Real Kashmir quickly responded as Ifham Tariq Mir executed a well-measured lob. Sreenidi Deccan goalkeeper Gomes attempted to intercept Mir's shot but misjudged the flight of the ball. In his rush to collect it, Gomes found himself outmanoeuvred as the ball sailed over his head, dipping at just the right moment to cross the goal line and secure the equaliser for Real Kashmir.

Real Kashmir finally sealed the match in the added minutes of the second half after Eli Sabia brought down Krizo inside the box. The referee immediately pointed towards the spot and the Ivory Coast striker stepped up to send Gomes the other way and give Real Kashmir a thrilling victory.

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