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Gokulam Kerala FC win I-League, qualify for AFC Cup

Gokulam Kerala FC are the I-League champions. (Image:1Sports Facebook Screenshot)
Gokulam Kerala FC are the I-League champions. (Image:1Sports Facebook Screenshot)
FEATURED WRITER
Modified 27 Mar 2021
News

The I-League delivered yet another thrilling finish on the final day as Gokulam Kerala FC came from behind to beat TRAU FC 4-1 and win the title.

Both Gokulam Kerala and Churchill Brothers finished with the same number of points. But head-to-head results paved the way for Gokulam Kerala to take the top spot in the league table.

Gokulam Kerala FC come from behind to win the I-League

Gokulam Kerala and TRAU both needed a win in the final game of the league to clinch the title. TRAU took the lead in the 23rd minute through a Bidysagar Singh goal.

However, Vincenzo Alberto Annese made some key changes at half-time, which changed the flow of the game. Sharif Mukhamad opened the flood gates for the Kozhikode-based side in the 70th minute. Emil Benny struck four minutes later to take Gokulam Kerala FC into the lead with a belter of a shot from inside the box. Dennis Antwi made a solo run, went past his markers and scored the third goal for his side in the 77th minute.

TRAU managed to gain some momentum through Chanso Horam and Bidyasagar Singh's solo runs, but they were eventually outnumbered. TRAU put all of their men upfront with the hope of scoring twice in the next 15 minutes only to be caught against the run of play.

Muhammad Rashid scored the fourth and final goal for Gokulam Kerala FC in the 94th minute to win the I-League title.

I-League champions Gokulam Kerala FC will play in AFC Cup 2022 Group Stage

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Gokulam Kerala FC will now play in the AFC Cup Group Stage 2022 by virtue of a special dispensation awarded by the Asian Football Confederation (AFC). They join Basundhara Kings from Bangladesh in the South Asia Group.

I-League champions Gokulam Kerala FC have become the first-ever club from Kerala to qualify for an Asian continental club competition
I-League champions Gokulam Kerala FC have become the first-ever club from Kerala to qualify for an Asian continental club competition

Elsewhere, Churchill Brothers won 3-2 over RoundGlass Punjab FC and were on top of the I-League table before TRAU opened the scoring in the Gokulam Kerala fixture.

I-League 2020-21 Awards

Golden Boot: Khangembam Bidyashagar Singh (TRAU)

Golden Glove: Kiran Chemjong (RoundGlass Punjab FC)

Best Defender: Hamza Kheir (Churchill Brothers FC)

Best Midfielder: Konsam Phalguni Singh (TRAU)

Emerging Player: Emil Benny (Gokulam Kerala FC)

Best Coach: Leimapokpam Nandakumar Singh (TRAU)

Hero of the League: Khangembam Bidyashagar Singh (TRAU)

Published 27 Mar 2021, 20:19 IST
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