Gokulam Kerala registered their first win of the season in the 2018-19 I-League against a toothless Shillong Lajong side at the EMS Stadium on Sunday.
Gani Ahmed Nigam (43'), Antonio German (56') and Rajesh (66') hit the net for the hosts. Phrangki Buam (78') scored the only goal for the visitors.
Bino George made four changes to the side that lost to Chennai City. Arjun Jayaraj missed the match due to fever and Mudde Musa served his suspension after being sent off in the last match. Mohammad Rashid, Gani Ahmed Nigam, Deepak and Rajesh returned to the starting lineup.
Alison Kharsyntiew made just one change from the lineup that lost 0-1 to Indian Arrows. Samuel Lalmuanpuia was omitted from the matchday squad and Sheen Stevenson started in his place.
The hosts created chance after chance but failed to convert them for most of the first half. Ortiz's poor clearance allowed Mahesh to try and replicate his wonder goal against Aizawl but his effort harmlessly sailed over the bar.
It was all Gokulam Kerala thereafter and their left flank, consisting of Gani Ahmed Nigam and Deepak. was turning out be the most productive area on the field. Antonio German and Gani Ahmed missed chances as the first half threatened to end without goals.
In the 18th minute, the former FC Pune City winger dribbled past Lajong defenders to surge into the box from the left flank but hs failed to beat the goalkeeper. He missed again a minute later when he hit the side-netting from Abhishek's teasing cross into the box from the right. The winger finally provided the breakthrough at the stroke of half-time.
Guilherme Castro's free-kick was flicked towards the far post for Daniel Addo. The defender clipped the ball across goal for Gani Ahmed who slotted home and made amends for his misses.
The hosts mounted pressure on the Lajong defence and doubled their lead soon after the break. Castro rolls his corner-kick to Antonio German whose fierce strike took a deflection on its way into the net.
Gani turned provider ten minutes later when he teased a ball across the face of the goal from the left flank. Rajesh met the cross with his right foot and directed it into the corner of the net.
Phrangki Buam was fed into the box by Sheen Stevenson and his powerful shot went in off the upright but it was nothing more than a consolation goal for the visitors.
To make matters worse for Alison Kharsyntiew, Novin Gurung picked up a second yellow and was sent off in injury time for a late challenge on Mohammad Rashid.