The kids are alright! Young Arrows impress in defeat against Gokulam Kerala FC
A new-look Indian Arrows side impressed in their opening mach of the I-League season against Gokulam Kerala FC
Size, especially having big forwards, have always played a key role in I-League and that proved to be the case once again as Henry Kisekka scored the all important goal for Gokulam Kerala FC in their 1-0 victory against the Indian Arrows on Friday.
The title favourites had to really fight for the victory though as a young, resilient and at times impressive Indian Arrows side gave the Kerala team a fight till the very end, a welcome change from the last season were the experimental team were pushovers for big sides. The Arrows were helped by the fact that the Malabarians played with ten men in the last 15 minutes after Andre Etienne picked up a Red Card.
Gokulam coach Valera played both Kisekka and Trinidadian captain Marcus Joseph upfront while Arrows’ new coach Shanmugam Venkatesh also began with a regulation 4-4-2, with Vikram Partap Singh and Aman Chetri upfront.
Gokulam started strongly and both Joseph and Kisekka missed a couple of sitters in the opening 20 minutes of the game. The Arrows, however, found their grooves by then and Vikram Partap was impressed with his surging runs down the right.
By the time the half ended, Gokulam were left wondering what they needed to do to break down the young Arrows as their goal was being manned more-than-ably by the young Samik Mitra, who also had a good confident half.
After the breather, and quite against the run of play, Gokulam went ahead within five minutes of the resumption. A long ball found Kisekka on the top of the Arrows box on the right. The Ugandan got away from his markers in a flash and neatly placed the ball in the left-hand corner of the Arrows net.
The game continued to ebb and flow and then in the 76th minute, a wonderful Gokulam move resulted in a Joseph header deflecting off a defender and going in, but Samik brought off a brilliant save again to deny Joseph on the day.
Five minutes later, Etienne brought down an onrushing Aman Chetri after the young forward had dispossessed him in-front of goal and was headed towards it. With just the keeper ahead, the referee had no option but to give marching orders to the burly Trinidadian centre-back.
Hormipam, of the Arrows, for his resolute defensive work was awarded the Hero of the Match. Gokulam have now won both their opening games and now sit pretty on top of the table with six points.