Kenkre FC hammer Sudeva Delhi FC 3-0 to register maiden I-League victory

Kenkre FC players celebrate their first victory in the I-League. (Image Courtesy: Twitter/ILeagueOfficial)
Kenkre FC players celebrate their first victory in the I-League. (Image Courtesy: Twitter/ILeagueOfficial)

I-League Debutants Kenkre FC registered a historic 3-0 victory, their first win in the I-League, against Sudeva Delhi FC at the Kalyani Stadium on Friday. Although the game unraveled as a cagey affair in the first half, three second-half goals from the Mumbai-based club secured their first three points of the season.

Benefitting from a defensive error from the Sudeva shot-stopper near the hour mark, Akeraj Martins opened the scoring. Vijay Nagappan's deflected effort doubled the lead minutes later.

In the fourth minute of injury time, Kenkre FC struck the final blow when Kynsailang Khongsit capitalized on yet another defensive error and scored the third goal.

Kenkre FC get over slow start against Sudeva Delhi FC

Head coach Mehrajuddin Wadoo's side started the game on the front foot, dominating possession right from the get go. Kenkre FC were pushed back deep into their own half.

However, they managed to keep Sudeva Delhi FC at bay. But, as the minutes rolled by, Kenkre FC extended their control over the game.

The Maharashtra team had a glorious opportunity when Kiran Pandre found Ranjeet Pandre in the clear after an extended build-up from the back.

Ranjeet quickly teamed up with Siddharth Colaco and raced past Pulkitveer Choudhary, Vanlalzuidika Chhaakchhuak, and skipper Sairuatkima. But, he dragged his attempt wide at the second post.

However, Kenkre looked like they had yet again thrown themselves under the bus when defender Banpynkhrawnam Nongkhlaw lost the ball in his own box. Luckily for them, goalkeeper Padam Chettri controlled the situation.

But for all their minor defensive errors, Akhil Kothari's men kept pushing forward. Vijay Nagappan was deep on the left flank when he found Akeraj Martins in clear space on the right. Following that was a Martins cross that Pandre failed to head home from within touching distance.

Before the referee blew the half-time whistle, both sides exchanged sparring blows without either one of the teams creating anything substantial.

But coming out in the second half, the debutants looked hungry for a victory. Minutes after the game resumed, Aniket Panchal launched a 30-yard effort that Sudeva Delhi goalkeeper Sachin Jha deftly stopped and negated. This was one of the first warning signs that came Sudeva Delhi FC's way.

In the 65th minute, Kenkre FC were gifted a goal by Sudeva Delhi FC. Defender Zuidika played a loose pass to goalkeeper Sachin Jha, who couldn't control the ball. Ranjeet Pandre stole the ball in the opposition half and nudged it to Martins. With the goal gaping wide, Akeraj calmly tucked it into the open net.

Minutes later, Kenkre piled on Sudeva's struggles as they doubled their lead through a deflected shot from Vijay Nagappan. After a well-combined build-up, Panchal found Vijay on the edge of the box.

Two goals down, Sudeva Delhi FC threw men forward hoping to pull a goal back. However, they conceded another goal in the fourth minute of injury time.

Defender Pulkitveer Choudhary played a feeble backward pass but Khongsit reached the loose ball before the on-rushing keeper and got past Jha. The Kenkre FC forward tapped the ball into the open goal with the custodian stranded.

The victory gives the Mumbai club a massive boost in their journey to evade the relegation spots.

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Edited by Akshay Saraswat
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