Gokulam Kerala’s desperate measures seem to be working. The management, which replaced its coach and two key players midway through the I-League, must be happy with the team’s 1-0 victory against Churchill Brothers here on Sunday.
The management must be particularly happy that the goal was scored by one of the replacements, Sergio Mendigutxia, who joined the team along with fellow-Spaniard Omar Ramos. It was their first match for Gokulam, just as it was for their coach, compatriot Francesc Bonet.
With the win, Gokulam, the champion for the last two seasons, has moved into the third spot, with 18 points from 10 games. Sreenidi Deccan is still leading the table with 22 points, while RoundGlass Punjab, which has played a game less, is on 20. Churchill remains seventh with 12 points.
Churchill must be regretting the chances it missed in this game, which saw quite a bit of end-to-end football. With both sides struggling to convert the opportunities that came their way, a goalless draw could not have been ruled out, until the host made a superb move down the centre, with just 10 minutes of normal time remaining.
It was finished off in style by Mendigutxia, off a fine assist from V.S. Sreekuttan. The Spaniard did well to put the ball into the far post, beating Churchill’s goalkeeper Albino Gomes.
The result: Gokulam Kerala 1 (Sergio Mendigutxia 80) bt Churchill Brothers 0.