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High flying RoundGlass Punjab held to a draw by Real Kashmir

Dipanda Dicka celebrates a Hero I-League goal with his Real Kashmir FC teammates. (Photo courtesy: AIFF Media)
Dipanda Dicka celebrates a Hero I-League goal with his Real Kashmir FC teammates. (Photo courtesy: AIFF Media)

RoundGlass Punjab’s three-match winning streak came to a halt when they drew with Real Kashmir in the top of the table clash at the Kalyani Municipal Stadium in Kalyani, West Bengal, on Thursday, February 18, 2021. Joseba Beitia’s penalty was cancelled out by eventual Hero of the Match Dipanda Dicka’s header, in an eventful second half which also saw two red cards.

RoundGlass Punjab decided against making any changes from their win against Chennai City. Real Kashmir made two changes as Dipanda Dicka and Lalrindika Ralte were brought back to the starting line-up after their thrilling 4-3 win against NEROCA.

In an end-to-end start, it was RoundGlass Punjab, who came close to breaking the deadlock on the 6th minute as Papa Diawara’s lobbed header was cleared off the line by Mason Robertson. The game slowly settled down as RoundGlass Punjab started dominating possession. By the 20th minute, Curtis Fleming’s side held a massive 72 per cent possession.

RoundGlass turned up the pressure, winning two free-kicks, one after the other. The first one was hit straight into the wall by Chencho Gyeltshen in the 21st minute. Two minutes later, they won another free-kick from 25-odd-yards and Joseba Beitia forced Mithun Samantha into tipping his effort over the bar.

With RoundGlass holding the majority of the ball, Real Kashmir had to depend more on set-pieces for chance creation. They came close to scoring the opener on the 31st minute when Pratesh Shridokar’s long-range curling effort from a Haroon Amiri layoff went inches wide of the post.

Lukman Adefemi had a half-chance after Mason Robertson headed Lalrandika’s knockback into the Nigerian’s path, but the striker skied his volley. Both sides then headed into halftime break without impacting the scoreboard.

A minute after the restart, Danish Farooq pounced on a stray clearance from Mohammed Irshad, but his first-time volley went wide of Kiran Kumar Limbu’s goal. Real Kashmir created another chance on the 47th minute, but Lukman’s header from the edge of the area did not carry enough power to beat the Nepalese custodian.

RoundGlass came close again to opening the scoreline through a long throw on the 56th minute. However, Babacar Diawara headed his effort inches wide of the goal after Irshad’s flick inside the box. Four minutes later, Kiran Limbu had to be alert as he parried away Mason Robertson’s low powerful drive.

The game took an ugly turn on the 63rd minute when Chencho clashed with Haroon Amiri in an off-the-ball incident and both received their marching orders. The opening goal finally came after Dharmaraj Ravanan fouled substitute Sumit Passi in the area, and Joseba Beitia slotted his penalty low past Mithun Samantha on the 67th minute.

Real Kashmir started to push forward and came close to scoring in the 70th minute. Lalrindika’s brilliant overhead kick from outside the area crashed against the crossbar, before being cleared out for a corner. However, RoundGlass Punjab’s lead hardly lasted five minutes as the Snow Leopards scored with their very next corner.

Mason Robertson was at the end of Sena Ralte’s long cross into the area. The defender sent his first-time cross across the goal where Dipanda Dicka headed the ball over the line, levelling the score-line. Both sides kept on pushing hard but could not find a late winner, as another top-of-the-table clash in the Hero I-League finished all square.

(AIFF Media)