I-League: Marcus Joseph winner steers Gokulam Kerala clear of relegation
Winless for 12 games, Gokulam Kerala FC carved out a rare 2-1 victory over Neroca FC in the I-League here Sunday.
Second half goals from Ghanaian Daniel Addo and Trinidadian Marcus Joseph secured three points for the home side after Nigerian Felix Chidi had scored his seventh of the 12th Hero I-League, to give Neroca a lead in the first half.
The win takes the Gokulam side to the ninth place on the points table. They are just above Minerva Punjab FC, thanks to a better head-to-head record.
More importantly, this steers them clear of the relegation zone, as bottom-placed Shillong Lajong can now only equal the Kozhikode-based side if they win their last two games.
However, Gokulam have a better head-to-head record with Lajong, and thus cannot mathematically finish in the drop zone.
Neroca coach Manuel Fraile made as many as four changes to his starting XI before the game, while his Gokulam counterpart Gift Raikhan made two from their previous defeat against Aizawl.
The game began at a slow pace. Daniel Addo had a toe-poke in the 11th minute and then there was an effort by Chidi for Neroca at the quarter of an hour mark which ballooned over.
Then Eduardo could not connect for Neroca effectively with his header, off a free-kick in the 17th minute. Gokulam’s Nigerian forward Emmanuel was then put through by Arjun Jayaraj, but Naocha Singh in the Neroca defence made a timely interception to thwart him.