I-League 2017: Gokulam Kerala 1-1 Chennai City - Promising Kerala held by stale Southerners
Gokulam Kerala FC managed a 1-1 draw against Chennai City FC in I-League's first South Indian derby...

Gokulam Kerala FC were held to 1-1 draw by Chennai City FC at the EMS Corporation Stadium, Calicut on Monday.

Former Aizawl FC and Mohun Bagan striker Kamo Stephane Bayi scored the opening goal for the home side in the 22nd minute but Chennai City FC's French forward Jean-Michel Joachim restored parity within six minutes.

Bino George rang the changes for Gokulam Kerala's first home game as an injured Chegozie was replaced by Santu Singh in defence. Chegozie's replacement substitute from the first match, Shinu, was omitted from the matchday squad.

Soundrarajan also chose to heavily rotate his squad following a shocking 3-0 defeat against the Indian Arrows in their opening game. Lucky Micheal was relegated to the bench but Soosairaj kept his role in behind the striker.

Gokulam Kerala got off to a positive start as a cross-field diagonal pass reached Vicky Meitei on the edge of the box in the early minutes of the game. Metei sorted his feet and sent a powerful strike that had to be cleared off the goal-line by Henry Tesong.

The visitors were struggling to contain the attacking threat of Bayi Kamo and Lelo Mbele and the former went close to punishing the Chennai defence when he released right-back Sushant Mathew down the right flank with a defence-splitting through ball but the Kerala man couldn't get a cross into the box in time.

The home side broke the deadlock in the 21st minute through Bayi Kamo. Sushant Mathew turned provider this time and lobbed a ball over the Chennai defence into the path of Bayi Kamo who skipped past Poljanec to score.

Gokulam FC Chennai City FC I-League 2017

Chennai increased their tempo in what was already a fast-paced game and grabbed an equaliser before the half-hour mark. Edwin Vanspaul's corner was headed in by Jean Micheal Joachim to even the scoreline.

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Jean Micheal threatened to score immediately after the restart as Alexander Romario delivered a delicious cross into the box for the striker but the striker missed his header completely. He went close to giving his side the lead just a few minutes later through an attempted bicycle-kick inside the box but once again, the striker failed to connect and Sushant Mathew was more than happy to clear the ball away from danger.

Injury worries struck Gokulam Kerala FC as Kamo Bayi had to be taken off late in the second half but the home side were in the ascendancy. Khaled Alsaleh had the chance to score the match-winner from a corner but his strong strike could not beat the goalkeeper. Mohammad Rashid dived to get his head onto Jimshad's cross from the right but he could not direct it on target.

Chennai City midfielder Soosai Raj's shot from outside the box flew into the stands as the visitors failed to switch gears in the final moments in the game. The game ended with both sides sharing spoils on the night but Gokulam Kerala will be the side to feel let down due to the chances that they had to go in front. 
 

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