Real Kashmir FC 1 (Samuel Kynshi 68’)
Mumbai Kenkre FC 1 (Banpynkhrawnam Nongkhlaw 90+3’)
SRINAGAR: Real Kashmir remained unbeaten for their sixth game in a row after playing a 1-1 draw against Mumbai Kenkre FC in the Hero I-League 2022-23 game at TRC Stadium on Thursday, March 2, 2023. The result also means that the gap between Mumbai Kenkre and NEROCA FC in the points table has been reduced by six points, enabling Mumbai Kenkre to keep alive their hopes of avoiding relegation in the Hero I-League for another day. However, with only two games remaining, the Orange Brigade will have to really work hard if they want to stay in the Hero I-League in the next season.
Real Kashmir’s captain and goalkeeper Subhasish Roy Chowdhury played a crucial role in the game, making several quality saves to deny Mumbai Kenkre’s forwards before Samuel Kynshi put the home side in the lead in the second half. However, Mumbai Kenkre’s defender Banpynkhrawnam Nongkhlaw equalised in the final minutes of the game leaving the two teams share the spoils.
The hosts started the game with a different strategy, playing Jestin George, usually a defender, upfront, since neither Ibrahim Nurudeen nor Ernest Boateng figured in the starting eleven. The tactic worked in the early minutes as George was brought down just outside the penalty area, but Samuel Kynshi’s free-kick attempt went wide.
Slowly, Mumbai Kenkre started having some say in the game, and Francis Uchenna Nwankwo found Azfar Noorani on the left wing at the half-hour mark. However, Noorani failed to keep his shot on target after entering the 18-yard box. Four minutes later, Aman Gaikwad was found by Noorani with an inch-perfect cross and managed to send his header away from Subhasish Roy Chowdhury, but the Real Kashmir captain and goalkeeper quickly dived to his right to make the save.
In the second half, George returned back to his original position as Nurudeen came on for Phrangki Buam. In the 63rd minute, Roy Chowdhury made another crucial save for the hosts. Aravindraj Rajan had found Anjan Bista on his right and the substitute took a curler off his right but it was tipped over the bar by the home custodian.
Five minutes later, Real Kashmir finally broke the deadlock. George took a long throw in the final third and found Richard Osei Agyemang. The defender flicked his header at the far post for Kynshi, who simply tapped the ball into an open goal.
With a goal down, Kenkre surged forward for the equaliser, leaving space in the defence, which was exploited by the hosts. Girik Khosla went close with his header in the 73rd minute, while Richard Osei almost found the bottom corner in the 86th minute after he received a backheel pass from Nurudeen. In the final minute of regulation time, substitute Augustejunior Boumsomlaga’s volley was denied by another great save from Roy Chowdhury, but his citadel was finally breached in added time when Rajan found Nongkhlaw with a corner kick and the defender scored the equaliser.