I-League: Real Kashmir pip Chennai City 1-0
Debutants Real Kashmir FC pepped up the 12th I-League title race, inflicting the first defeat of the season on table toppers Chennai City FC riding on a Abednego Kofi Tetteh penalty conversion late in the second half to run out victors by a solitary goal to nil.
The game at Coimbatore's Nehru stadium was mostly a battle of attrition and the result takes Kashmir to second on the points table, just one point behind Chennai, who still lead with 18 points. Both teams have completed nine games.
The visitors made as many as three changes to their starting eleven from the previous game. Mason Robertson, the burly Scottish defender sat out and was replaced by Muhammad Hammad. So did Nagen Tamang and Khalid Qayoom in midfield and Kashmir lads Farhan Ganie and Danish Farooq played in their stead.
The hosts made just one change -- Charles Lourdusamy went out and Pravitto Raju got a start in his place.
Kashmir got the first chance of the game as early as in the third minute when a Surchandra Singh free-kick from near the left corner flag escaped the boots of two Kashmir players very close to the Chennai goalmouth.
The homeside then started to try and take control of the game but Kashmir were presenting a compact defensive formation and as much as Chennai's creative Spanish midfielders Nestor and Sandro tried, they could not find an opening.
The pair first broke through in the 31st minute and Nestor missed one from close, albeit from a narrow angle. Kashmir immediately replied with a Surchandra Singh effort.
It was evident that Kashmir were trying to play a physical game to disrupt the fluent Chennai midfield recording five times as many fouls as the hosts in the first half.
The game seemed to be headed towards a stalemate when Kashmir were awarded a penalty in the 76th minute as Gourav Bora was adjudged to have brought down Krizo inside the box.
Two minutes later, Kofi Tetteh handed Kashmir the lead with a brilliant goal.
Chennai tried to hit back immediately but Spanish striker Pedro Manzi missed a regulation chance of a lovely chipped ball by Nestor.