NEROCA snapped Gokulam Kerala FC’s winning streak at home by holding it to a goalless draw at the Payyanad stadium here on Thursday.
It was a disappointing performance from Gokulam FC which needed a win to top the table. The home side was outplayed by its spirited rivals and should thank its goalkeeper Shibinraj for the draw.
The visiting Manipur side wrested control of the midfield early in the first half to put pressure on the Gokulam defence. However, NEROCA strikers weren’t sharp enough to convert the chances that came their way. Gokulam goalkeeper Shibinraj brought out a nice save to deny Lunminlen Haokip in the 26th minute.
Gokulam FC nearly scored against the run of play in the 30th minute when Shijin found space inside the rival box only to see his shot rebound off the far post. Towards the end of the first half, Gokulam’s Cameroon striker Augustine Jr, who was unmarked, blasted out from close.
Gokulam showed more attacking intent in the second half and was able to keep the NEROCA defence on its toes. But Shijin and Bouba Aminou messed up the chances they got inside the box.
At the other end, Shibin Raj was alert to parry away shots from Lunminlen Halkip and Tangva Ragui as the match drifted to a draw. Gokulam with the draw slipped to the third spot with 15 points while NEROCA moved up to the 10th spot with seven points.