Mensah brings Gokulam an injury-time winner
Ghanaian Samuel Mensah’s goal, in the fifth minute of injury time, helped Gokulam Kerala FC pull off a 1-0 victory over Kovalam FC in the first of their double-leg semifinal of the Kerala Premier League football at the M.K. Jinachandran Stadium here on Tuesday.
Just when the match appeared to be headed to a draw, came the clincher after a move from the left. Mensah trapped the ball with his right foot and then tapped it in with his left as Gokulam heaved a sigh of relief.
Despite the victory, it was Kovalam — which had lost the previous encounter between the two 0-4 in the super-six stage and which got a last-minute berth into the semifinals after Kerala Police left its seat vacant — which stole the show with its bold performance.
Goalkeeper Amal Thomas put on a sterling show to deny Gokulam’s foreign stars Mensah and Nigerian Godfrey West repeatedly, a display which brought him the player-of-the-match award.
Taller and stronger, Gokulam moved up comfortably in the first half, advancing often through the left flank with Bibin Ajayan, K. Abhijith and Dilip Orawn combining well. But there were not many crosses into the box.
Desperate for a goal, Gokulam pushed harder in the second half with right-back Lastborn Mawphinlang moving up and sending many long balls into the box. After one such move, around the 50th minute, Thomas came up with a fine diving save to deny Mensah.
And around the hour-mark, Gokulam forward Godfrey West was unlucky to see his shot, off a corner, hit the left post.
After this, the Kovalam boys strengthened their defence and marked West and Mensah well, making life difficult for the forwards. But things changed in the injury time.
The result: Gokulam Kerala FC 1 (Samuel Mensah 90+4) bt Kovalam FC 0.