Malabarians go down fighting against Chittagong Abahani in Sheikh Kamal International Club Cup

Gokulam Kerala FC went down, 2-3, in a thrilling encounter with Chittagong Abahani in the semifinal played at the MA Aziz Stadium in the Sheikh Kamal International Club Cup here on Monday.

 Gokulam Kerala led twice in the match but were not able to maintain the lead with just two minutes left for the full time whistle and also conceded in the extra-time to hand over a victory to the Bangladesh team in a feisty match played in front of a jam-packed stadium.

Chittagong Abahani started the match in full swing, attacking through the wings and creating several chances. However it was Gokulam Kerala FC that took the lead with a marvellous goal. Henry, receiving the ball in the D area, made an unexpected sprint into the box dribbling past Abahani defender and then befuddling the goalie with his clinical finish.

But the lead had only short life as Abahani struck back at the start of the second half. The goal lent new life for the hosts as they raided Gokulam box. Ubaid was the saviour with several saves and head coach Fernando Varela responded by bringing in Lalromawia for Mayakkannan.

The substitution brought more life into Gokulam Kerala FC attacks as the Mizoram striker created several chances up front. In the 80 th minute, Marcus scored from a tight angle to put the Malabarians up front.

It looked like Malabarians would get through the waves of Abahani attacks but in the dying minutes of the match, Didier scored his second goal to level the game again. Marcus had a wonderful chance in the injury time to again put Gokulam up front but his squandered it shooting well above the target.

In the extra-time Mathew pulled one another for the Bangladesh team to end hopes of Gokulam. Though Malabarians fought till the end, they failed to score the equaliser to end the match in favour of the hosts.

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