Gokulam Kerala got the better of TRAU FC 4-1 in the final match of the season to lift the 2020-21 I-League trophy on Saturday.
Bidyasagar Singh had handed TRAU the lead in the 24th minute of the match but the Malabarians came back strongly in the second half. They scored three goals between 70 to 77 minutes to seal the fate of the game and the league in their favour. Sharif Mukhammad (70'), Emil Benny (74') and Denny Antwi (77') and Mohammed Rashid (90+8') were on target for the Kozhikode-based club.
Gokulam finished the league at the top of the table with 29 points from 15 matches. They won nine games, drew two and lost in four matches during the season.
In the other game of the day, Churchill Brothers defeated RoundGlass Punjab FC 3-2 to finished runners-up. The Red and Machines had taken a resounding 3-0 lead in the first half thanks to Clayvin Zuniga's brace (25', 45+3') Luka Majcen's (8') goal. But Punjab pulled two goals back in the second as Joseba Beitia (66') and Papa Diawara (69').
This is the first time in the history of the I-League/National Football League (NFL) league that a club from Kerala has been crowned the champions. Gokulam Kerala had begun their journey in the league in the 2017-18 season and in just their fourth season they have clinched the title.
With the win, the Malabarians have also secured an automatic slot in the group stages of the AFC Cup 2022.