Gokulam Kerala played out an entertaining 1-1 draw against Kolkata giants East Bengal at the EMS Corporate Stadium in an I-League clash here on Tuesday.
Marcus Joseph broke the deadlock in the ninth minute before Victor Perez’s penalty in the 24th minute levelled the scores. The hosts went down to 10 men in the second half, before being reduced to nine players minutes before the full-time whistle. However, they showed great resilience to hold on.
It took the hosts only nine minutes to go in front through skipper Marcus Joseph, who had a crack from just outside the box and found the back of the net. The visitors found their way back into the game in the 24th minute, when Juan Mera’s mazy run was recklessly intercepted by Naocha Singh inside the box, conceding a penalty and his first yellow card of the game.
New signing Victor Perez stepped up for the spot-kick and converted successfully to restore parity for East Bengal. Gokulam made a horrendous start to the second half as they went down to 10-men. Naocha Singh was given marching orders after being shown a second yellow card.
Ten-man Gokulam almost won it at the death, when substitute Lalromawia’s perfectly placed shot found the back of the net to send the home crowd over the fence, but the celebrations were short-lived since the linesman had his flag up for offside.
Protesting the decision, Haroon Amiri was shown his second yellow card of the day, as Gokulam ended up with nine men, minutes before the full-time whistle.
East Bengal remained at fourth place with 20 points, while Gokulam Kerala rose a place above to sixth with 19 points.