I-League 2018-19: Chennai City trump Gokulam Kerala in five-goal thriller
AIFF
Antonio German's penalty gave Gokulam an early lead but the visitors put up a good fight to come back into the game...

Chennai City edged past Gokulam Kerala 3-2 in their I-League clash at the EMS Stadium in Kozhikode on Sunday.

Antonio German's spot-kick gave the hosts an early lead but Pravitto Raju and Pedro Manzi scored as the visitors came back from behind. Amiruddeen doubled Chennai's lead before Suhair's curler gave hope to Gokulam in the final minutes of the match. 

Arjun Jayaraj returned to the starting lineup and Suhair started up front for Bino George's team.  Mohammed Rashid and Rajesh S were dropped to the bench. New signing Arthur Kouassi earned a place on the matchday squad. 

Akbar Nawas replaced the injured midfielder Michael Regin with young talent Pravitto Raju in an otherwise unchanged starting lineup for Chennai City. 

Arjun Jayaraj made an instant impact on his return to the first team fold. Antonio German's crossed into the centre of the box from the right flank and the Kerala-born youngster attempted an overhead kick that was kept out by an alert Kabir. However, the referee pointed to the spot after spotting a push by Roberto on Castro. 

German stepped up and scored his first goal of the season and it was a dream start for the home side. 

Chennai City's fightback was admirable as they took control of the match after the early setback. Jesuraj surged into the box and had his shot saved by Shibinraj with his outstretched legs. The rebound fell to Ajith who skipped past his marker and picked out Manzi in the centre but the striker's shot hit the post.

Chennai City were lucky on their third try. Nestor charged down the left flank and crossed low into the centre. Shibinraj parried the ball into the feet of Pravitto Raju who tapped the ball into the net. 

The visitors' continued pressure yielded another goal before the break. Nestor was in on the act again as he played a defence-splitting ball into the box from the left. Shibinraj tried to come off his line to collect but ended up clashing with his own defender and Manzi was at hand to send the ball into an empty net. 

Chennai doubled their lead after the hour-mark. Nestor played a through-ball to release Amiruddeen into space down the left and the substitute sent the ball into the net past an onrushing Shibinraj.

Gokulam piled the pressure on Chennai as the clocked ticked on. Suhair skipped past multiple challenges before curling the ball into the top corner from the edge of the box to give the hosts hope but the equaliser remained elusive.

To add insult to injury, Mudde Musa's retaliation at Amiruddeen after he lost the ball in his own half got him a straight red card as Gokulam Kerala went off the field frustrated and disappointed. 

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