Real Kashmir FC surrender a point to Delhi FC on home turf

SRINAGAR: Real Kashmir FC had to settle for their third consecutive draw in the I-League as they were held 1-1 by Delhi FC in a crucial match on their home turf here on Sunday.
Both goals came in the second half.
Delhi FC took the lead through Gurtej Singh (52′) early in the second half before conceding an own goal in the latter stages (82′) of the match to take home a point.
The draw did little to boost Real Kashmir’s chances in the title race, but they have only to blame themselves for missing a host of chances.
The Ishfaq Ahmed-coached side find themselves in the second spot in the standings with 36 points from 20 matches after the match. They have 10 wins, six draws and four defeats against their name.
Kolkata’s Mohammedan Sporting lead the table with 44 points from 19 games.
Two other teams, Sreenidi Deccan and Gokulam Kerala FC, also have 36 points each. While Sreenidi have played 18 matches, the Kerala side have collected their points from 20 matches.
Delhi FC are ninth in the league with 23 points from 20 matches and have bagged a point after four consecutive defeats.
It wasn’t the kind of homecoming that Real Kashmir fans were expecting. The last time Real Kashmir played at home was on December 16.
The Snow Leopards returned to their home ground after playing nine away matches in which they had done exceedingly well with four wins, three draws and two losses.
However, a lack of sharpness in front of goal meant they were not able to convert the chances. They also missed their most influential player, Gnohere Krizo.
The Ivorian forward has scored 11 goals so far and is fourth on the list of top scorers in the league. Krizo missed the match because of a suspension.
Delhi FC took the lead against the run of play. Former India forward Balwant Singh delivered a sharp low cross in the box from the right and Gurtej Singh exploited a momentary lapse in the usually tight Real Kashmir defence.
Taking advantage of the space offered to him, Gurtej hit a powerful and well-directed right-footed shot that stunned the Real Kashmir FC defence and fetched the back of the net.
Stung by the reverse, Real Kashmir went all out and eventually managed to level the score with an own goal. Substitute Ifham Tariq Mir floated a free-kick towards the far post, targeting Shaher Shaheen, who redirected the ball back into the crowded penalty box.
In a chaotic sequence, the ball made contact with Delhi FC defender Anwar’s left leg. Initially, it seemed like the ball would go out for a corner, indicating a narrow escape for Delhi FC.
However, in an unexpected twist, the ball deflected off Delhi FC goalkeeper Naveen Kumar and ended up in the back of the net, giving a much-needed respite to the Real Kashmir dugout.

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