Marcus Joseph scores as Gokulam Kerala edge Chennai City

Marcus Joseph Gokulam Kerala
AIFF Media
Gokulam Kerala have climbed to the third spot on the table with three points from Coimbatore...

Marcus Joseph's 79th-minute strike helped Gokulam Kerala down defending champions Chennai City 1-0 in the I-League match on Wednesday at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in Coimbatore. 

Chennai City coach Akbar Nawas named an unchanged lineup and Santiago Valera made two alterations in a bid to return to winning ways after the 1-0 defeat to Real Kashmir. Shibil Muhammed and Muthu Mayakkanan were reinstated to the starting line-up. 

It was a brisk start to the match as both teams tested each other's defensive resolve right from the first whistle. 

Within five minutes, Gokulam had a sight of the goal when Nathaniel Garcia tried to beat Nauset Santana from a narrow-angle but the keeper dealt with the danger.  At the other end, Fito was fed through on goal but a poor second touch let him down. 

The two sides continued to attack hammer and tongs but wasted their chances. In the 23rd minute, Henry Kisekka fired a snap-shot at goal following a half-turn but his effort sailed inches over the crossbar. 

Marcus Joseph Gokulam Kerala

In the 43rd minute, CK Ubaid was forced to make a double save to keep the scores unchanged. He put in a dive to his left to keep out Fito's free-kick and then showed excellent reflex to save Vijay's shot on the rebound. 

Five minutes after the break, a poor pass by Irshad allowed Fito to charge into the box after having won possession of the ball but the striker lashed his effort wide of an outstretched Ubaid. 

The Malabarians had a golden chance to break the deadlock close to the hour-mark when second-half substitute Salman Kalliyath flicked a long ball in behind for Henry Kisekka to chase. The striker latched onto the ball into the box but opted to shoot instead of passing it to a free Joseph to his right. His hurried effort was saved by the keeper. 

Varela brought new signing Kipson Atuheire on for his debut and the striker made an instant impact. He chested Andre Ettienne's long ball down, turned well and ran down the left flank before sending a low cross into the feet of Joseph. The Trinidad and Tobago international launched a powerful striker that flew past the keeper and bulged the net.

Good work by Muzangu near the byline on the right allowed him to get past Naocha Singh and cross into the box with only minutes left for the full-time whistle. Syed Pasha failed to convert from close-range and Ubaid put his body on the line to deny Chennai a late equaliser and secure the win for Gokulam Kerala.