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I-League 2023-24: Lalhlansanga’s gentle chip turns the tide in Mohammedan’s favour

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I-League 2023-24: Lalhlansanga’s gentle chip turns the tide in Mohammedan’s favour

Kozhikode (Kerala), March 3 (Ajit Weekly News) Some Poor defending by Gokulam Kerala helped Mohammedan Sporting reinvigorate their I-League 2023-24 title charge as they beat the home side 3-2 at the EMS Corporation Stadium here on Sunday. It took an injury-time winner from David Lalhlansanga to help the table toppers prevail over in a game defined by high-quality attacking and mediocre defending.

Mohammedan had streaked into a two-goal lead almost straight after the whistle with Eddie Hernandez slotting the ball into a gaping net in the 16th minute after Lalhlansanga had initially forced a superb save off Avilash Paul. Seven minutes later Alexis Gomez scored what looked — at the time — the best goal of the season. Yet again Lalhlansanga was involved, even if his contribution was merely to pass the ball to the Argentinian 25 yards from goal.

Gomez turned, looked up and shot, all in the same movement, Paul diving aimlessly to see the ball settle into the top corner. Gokulam were shell shocked and Mohammedan were cruising. Right on the edge of halftime though Noufal P.N. took away Gomez’s plaudits in the 45+1 minute. The Argentinian’s goal was not even the best of this game, let alone the season. The winger drifted out, cut into the box, and unleashed a curler into the top far corner to make 1-2 for the home side.

Gokulam ramped up the pressure in the second half, and duly earned their reward with the equaliser in the 63rd minute, K. Abhijith’s cross cannoned home by Nidhin at the far post. It was a goal that had come out of nowhere and seemed to have seriously dented the visitors’ hopes for promotion to the Indian Super League.

Despite the setbacks, Mohammedan kept their hopes alive and then sealed victory in the last moments. Lalhlansanga got his well-deserved goal right at the end, and it came because of the guile of their goalkeeper Padam Chettri, who launched a long kick having spotted a sleeping Gokualm defence.

The Mizo youngster took the shot first time, gently chipping it over the goalkeeper before wheeling off in celebration. This will go a long way towards securing promotion.

–Ajit Weekly News

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