Gokulam Kerala FC registered a comprehensive 6-2 win against Kenkre FC in their fourth game of the 2021-22 I-League campaign at the Kalyani Stadium, here on Saturday. Luka Majcen secured a superb hat-trick to secure Gokulam Kerala’s position at the top of the table in a game which for most parts was one-way traffic.
The defending champions came into this game on the back of two wins and a draw in their first three games which included a huge win against Real Kashmir FC, defeating them five goals to one in their last game. Their opponents, newly promoted Kenkre FC, have struggled so far in the league. They had drawn one and lost one to RoundGlass Punjab FC in the previous two games and were hoping to get something from this game.
The game kicked off and Gokulam’s superiority on the field began from the first few minutes. They wasted no time in securing the lead as their Slovenian striker Majcen got his name on the scoresheet in the third minute with a poacher’s goal. Kenkre’s goalkeeper Tenzin Samdup saved two close-range shots but Majcen pounced on the rebound inside the box to place it in the net to give his side the lead.
Emil Benny also tried to get in on the action in the eleventh minute but his shot fell wide. In the first fifteen minutes, Gokulam had a lion’s share of ball possession. GKFC doubled their lead with Jithin MS in the 16th minute as Benny looped one over the defence which was delicately placed by Jithin. With consecutive attacks, a third goal came just after a minute for the defending champions with Thahir Zaman smashing one in the top corner from his right foot.
A feisty midfield battle took place between the two sides in the later stages of the half as Kenkre did not concede any chance after the cooling break. The score remained 3-0 in favor of the Malabarians as the half came to a halt.
The end of the first half gave Kenkre some hope but the beginning of the second half tarnished all their good work. Majcen secured an easy tap-in after a defensive blunder to score the fourth goal for Gokulam in the 47th minute.
Both sides went with a double substitution around the 55th minute mark in a bid to freshen things up. Jishnu Balakrishnan and the veteran Lester Fernandez were sent in by Kenkre, while Rishad and Abhijith E M came in for Gokulam.
Akeraj Martins entered the game on the 70th minute mark for Kenkre and had an instant impact. Martins sat the defender down, cutting in from the left flank, and finished the move with a cool finish to make the score 4-1.
Luka Majcen had his sights set for a hat-trick throughout the second half and got his reward in the 85th minute with a well-placed header which Tenzin was only able to push into the goal.
The final few minutes of the game had relentless end-to-end attacks. Gokulam defender Muhammed Uvais scored the sixth goal for his side in the 90th minute as he smashed one in the top right corner well away from the goal to give us a contender for goal of the season.
Kenkre had no thought of lying down even in the final few minutes as they produced their own contender for the goal of the season. Lester Fernandez scored a sublime free-kick in the final minute of stoppage time to score the eighth and final goal of this goal fest.
Luka Majcen secured the match ball and was also awarded the Hero of the match for his phenomenal effort in front of the goal.
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