Churchill Brothers FC Goa 0
lost to
Real Kashmir FC 2 (Gnohere Krizo, 66’, Kamo Stephane Bayi, 90+9’)
AIFF Media Team

GOA: Ivorian forward Gnohere Krizo scored one of the most spectacular goals of the 2023-24 I-League season to pave the way for Real Kashmir FC’s 2-0 win over Churchill Brothers FC Goa at the Tilak Maidan in Vasco, Goa on Sunday, February 18, 2024. Real Kashmir thus returned to winning ways after losing their last match to Rajasthan FC.

Krizo’s wonder strike in the 66th minute was a masterpiece that could easily vie for the title of the best goal of the tournament. This exceptional play began with Krizo showcasing his ball control, receiving a long header from deep.

His initial touch with the right foot was both delicate and precise, setting the stage for what was to come. Krizo then executed a slight flick to lob the ball over his marker, creating space for himself in a moment of brilliance. Positioned about 35 yards from the goal, he side volleyed the ball mid-air with remarkable accuracy and power.

The ball arced perfectly over Churchill Brothers’ goalkeeper Subhashish Roy Chowdhury and dipped at the right moment to cross the line. The precision, strength, and creativity involved in the strike made it a spectacular piece of football artistry as Krizo scored his ninth goal of the tournament.

The Ishfaq Ahmed-coached Real Kashmir FC now have 26 points from 14 matches with eight wins, two draws and four losses. They are eight points adrift of leaders Mohammedan Sporting, who have played a match more than Real Kashmir. Two other teams, Gokulam Kerala FC and Sreenidi Deccan FC also have 26 points each.

Churchill Brothers occupy the 10th spot in the standings with 14 points from 14 matches, including three wins, five draws and six losses.

The first half of the match though unfolded as a tightly contested battle, with both teams displaying a cautious approach and effectively neutralising each other’s attacking threats. This tactical decision by each side to prioritise defence meant that open spaces were scarce, and opportunities to breach the opposition’s backline were limited. It also meant that play was mostly concentrated in the midfield, with neither team willing to commit too many players forward and risk being exposed on the counter.

The most notable opportunity of the first half came for Churchill Brothers in the 40th minute. Stendly Teotonio Fernandes found himself on the receiving end of a through ball, creating a promising situation for his team. Fernandes then set up Elhadji Abdou Karim Samb, the Senegalese striker, who took a right-footed shot. However, Real Kashmir’s goalkeeper Muheet Shabir made a crucial diving save to deny Churchill Brothers the lead.

The second half saw an equally cagey start before Real Kashmir increased the tempo of the game and secured several set-piece opportunities. However, they failed to capitalize on these chances.

Churchill Brothers, on the other hand, once again came close to scoring the opener in the 61st minute. Martin Chaves delivered a precise pass to Lalremruata, who found himself in a one-on-one situation with Shabir but the goalkeeper reacted quickly and advanced off his line to make a decisive save.

Real Kashmir finally broke the deadlock in the 66th minute with Krizo scoring a marvelous goal. The strike was so stunning that it took the fight out of Churchill Brothers. Real Kashmir extended their lead and sealed the game in the added minutes of the second half when substitute Kamo Stephane Bayi found the top right corner of the net with a fine shot.