Gokulam Kerala FC is now at a touching distance from scripting Indian football history. The Kerala based team are now sitting at 40 points, and a single point from their next 2 games can assure them the league title. By doing so, they will become the first team ever to win the I-League in back to back seasons.
Season so far
Gokulam Kerala has so far been, in one word, ruthless. The defending champions always looked like potential champions this season as well and the results are showing on the pitch. The Malabarians started the season with a comfortable win over the Churchill Brothers before drawing against Neroca FC after a 3 month forced gap in the league due to covid. However, they didn’t let their “sorrow” of a draw continue for long. On the 7th march, they run a rampage against Real Kashmir, thrashing the IFA Shield champions 5-1. The Snow Leopards are suffering from that heavy blow to date, finishing just above the relegation zone. Their excellent form in front of the goal continued as they scored 6 past Kenkre in the next game.
After a string of good results, Gokulam hit a sort of a brief dry patch, drawing 2 games in a row against Mohammedan and Rajasthan United. But, they quickly bounced back and won the remaining 5 games of the regular group stages. They scored 16 goals in those 5 matches.
The Malabarians maintained an equally brilliant form in the championship stage as well. They won their first match convincingly against Roundglass Punjab FC. However, Gokulam Kerala once again failed to get past the Churchill Brothers. Over their next two matches, they got the better of Neroca and Rajasthan United respectively. Currently, they sit on 40 points from 16 matches, out of which they won 12 and drew 4. With 13 goals from 12 appearances, Luka Majcen has been the top marksman for Gokulam.
On the threshold of history
Gokulam Kerala walks out on the field tonight against Shreenidhi at the Bankimanjali stadium tonight. Weather forecasters predict it will be a rainy night, we too predict the same as records will surely rain down upon the Malabarians if they manage to salvage any points. A win or even a draw will see Gokulam Kerala FC crowned as champions of the I-League. What’s more, they will become the first team ever in the history of the league to clinch the title in back to back season. Nobody has ever achieved this feat before. However, Gokulam can still be crowned champions if Mohammedan FC fails to put all three points against Rajasthan United, a match which kicks off 3 hours earlier.
Another great feat the Malabarians can achieve is to win the league as Invincibles. Gokulam hasn’t lost a game this season in the league and if they don’t lose tonight, they will become the first team in I-League/NFL history to achieve so. They are currently on a 21 match unbeaten streak, 16 of which is from this season.
What makes the match even more special is that on this historical night, Gokulam’s opponent coach will be Fernando Santiago Varela, someone who has tasted success with the Malabarians as well. Varela won the Kerala Premier League and the Durand Cup with Gokulam Kerala in 2018-19. Varela, however, is suspended for this tie. “From the last time we played them, they are a better team now in both offensive and defensive phrases” commented the Spaniard.