I-League: Dennis Antwi stole the limelight from Chencho Gyeltshen as Gokulam Kerala FC came from two goals down to earn a remarkable 4-3 win against RoundGlass Punjab FC in an I-League fixture here on Thursday.
Gyeltshen’s quick-fire brace and a goal by Rupert Nongrum failed to safeguard Punjab’s lead as Dennis Antwi struck twice and an own goal by Anwar Ali in the second half saw the Kerala outfit emerge victories at the VYBK Stadium.
In the third minute, Gokulam were handed a golden opportunity to take the lead when a cross from Mayakkannan found Sharif Mohammad inside the box. Off a free-header and with only the keeper to beat, the Afghan International headed it wide of goal.
Lalromawaia missed a sitter in the 11th minute when his shot earned an uncanny save from Kiran Limbu. From the resulting ball, the midfielder slotted into the side netting.
In the 17th minute, Chencho was slyly found by a cushioned header inside the box from a freekick and the Bhutanese International slotted into the bottom corner to give Punjab the lead.
Chencho had an opportunity to double the lead three minutes later, but with only the goalkeeper to beat he shot over.
Gokulam were denied their best chance of the match, courtesy Kiran Limbu’s world-class save in the 24th minute.
Limbu made a miraculous save from a Philip Adjah tap-in after he was found by a low cross by Dennis Antwi.
Gokulam’s loss was Punjab’s gain. Off the resulting corner, Sanju Pradhan stole possession and ran towards goal. With Chencho alongside him, Pradhan played a quick pass to the Bhutanese forward as he slotted home the first time to double Punjab’s lead.
Philip Adjah reduced the deficit for Gokulam in the 26th minute when his outside of the boot shot left Kiran Limbu bewildered.
The writing on the wall came in the 44th minute for Gokulam when Chencho ran towards goal and set up an onrushing Rupert Nongrum, who slotted it past a hapless goalkeeper to make it 3-1 for Punjab FC.
Having grabbed a solid two-goal lead, Curtis Fleming’s team committed bodies in defence to see out the match.
Kiran Limbu came to the rescue for Punjab in the 53rd minute when he saved a penalty kick from Dennis after he was brought down inside the box.
In the 60th minute, Limbu once again put a strong hand to deny Philip Adjah’s rocket shot from the edge of the box.
Punjab made two defensive changes shortly after, bringing Anwar Ali and Bikash Yumnam for Ashray Bhardwaj and Sanju Pradhan respectively.
In the 70th minute, Dennis headed home from close range off a Deepak Devrani free-kick to reduce Gokulam’s deficit to one goal.
Two minutes later, Dennis used his physical prowess to latch onto a long ball, unleashing a half-volley that crashed into the back of the net as the scoreline read 3-3.
In the 75th minute, Anwar Ali scored an own goal after he headed the ball into his net to hand Gokulam the lead.
Gokulam did not relent and tried to even double their lead but Dennis failed to find the net in the 86th minute.