A game that swayed between the two outfits until the final whistle, finally went to the hosts’ way handing the only Keralite side of I-League 2017-18 their maiden win at their home, thanks to the 90th-minute winner from Arjun Jayaraj on Sunday (January 28, 2018).
Koffi took only 25 minutes to put Lajong in the driver’s seat and the visitors went into the changing room with the slender lead. More thrilling actions unfolded in the second half as not less than four goals were scored in the next 45 minutes.
Bahrainian Midfielder Alajmi restored the parity for the hosts in the 52nd minute before conceding another within 60 seconds as Lajong’s Korean Defender Zuho Oh headed Samuel’s freekick home. Gokulam made the most of Lajong’s defensive lapse as Kivi Zhimoni put the hosts back into the fight once again in the 74th minute.
Finally, Arjun Jayaraj took on his own to whiz past the Lajong defenders and blasted the back of the net to swing the match into their way.
The visitors started on a high pitch in their quest to another three points on the road and the Highlanders were heavily banking on the lanky striker Koffi who delivered rightly in the 25th minute, having tapped in Samuel’s superb cross from the wing.
Bino Geroge’s boys were pushing hard but the equaliser was eluding the Yellow outfit till the seventh minute of the second half when Alajmi’s curling free-kick banged the target to send the Gokulam Kerala FC dugout in a delirium.
Their joy was cut short as Zuho Oh headed Lajong’s second goal within 60 seconds of conceding the first goal of the match.
Lajong assistant coach Alison mentioned that his squad is a young one and they need more experience in the higher stage, their inexperience cost huge as Kivi Zhimoni caught their defence napping and cancelled the visitors’ lead once again.
Alison made some crucial changes in the dying minutes of the match but the fresh pair of legs couldn’t serve the purpose well.
Finally, Arjun Jayaraj’s stupendous effort put the hosts in the lead for the first time and they could maintain the lead to the final whistle to walk away with their first three-pointer at the home.
Lajong will now host the Mariners on February 3, 2018 and Gokulam Kerala FC will travel to the state of Manipur to play Neroca FC next day.