New Delhi: Real Kashmir blanked Tiddim Road Athletic Union 2-0 to secure their second away win of the season, while RoundGlass Punjab brightened their title hopes with an 8-0 hammering of Sudeva Delhi in the I-League on Sunday.
Juan Mera fired in a hattrick (21st, 33rd, 76th), while Luka Majcen struck a brace (28th, 69th) in their goal glut at the Tau Devi Lal Football Stadium in Gurugram.
Tekcham Abhishek Singh (78th), Juan Carlos Nellar (85th) and Maheson Singh Tongbram (90+3rd) completed the rout as Punjab went three points clear of Sreenidi Deccan FC with a massive goal difference of 21.
Defender Richard Osei Agyemang struck his fourth goal of the season to give Real Kashmir the lead at the halfway mark at the Khuman Lampak Stadium in Imphal.
Substitute Phrangki Buam (76th) then combined with Ibrahim Nurudeen to score his first goal to end a run of seven winless games away from home for the Snow Leopards.
The win pushed Real Kashmir past TRAU onto fifth place on the points table, level with Churchill Brothers, who sit just above them in fourth position due to a better goal difference.
Both teams displayed a cautious approach from the start and built their attacks from the back. Real Kashmir had the edge but were wasteful in the final third.
In the 22nd minute, Samuel Kynshi had a chance to open the scoring, but his volley from the edge of the penalty area was off-target.
The midfielder, however, helped the visitors break the deadlock at the half-hour mark.
From a corner kick, Kynshi whipped a cross at the near post, and as the TRAU defender Sagolsem Bikash Singh failed to clear the ball, Agyemang made a run into the six-yard box to send a thumping header into the back of the net.
Five minutes from half-time, the hosts came close to equalising but were denied by the crossbar.
Following a long throw-in taken by Naresh Singh Yendrembam, Salam Ranjan Singh received the ball near the penalty spot. With his volley, the defender beat Real Kashmir goalkeeper and captain Subhasish Roy Chowdhury but was denied by the crossbar.
Real Kashmir’s substitutes, Ibrahim Nurudeen and Phrangki Buam combined to double the score.
It was Nurudeen, who did all the hard work to reach Yakubu Wadudu’s through pass. Buam, who had just come onto the pitch, ran towards the goal to tap Ghanaian Nurudeen’s cross into an open goal.
In the add-on time, Fernandinho tried to get one back for the hosts but his shot from the edge of the penalty area landed on the roof of the net.