Aravindraj Rajan the hero as Kenkre FC throw relegation battle wide open
Kalyani, May 2, 2022
Aravindraj Rajan scored the solitary goal of the match as Kenkre edged past 10-man Real Kashmir 1-0 in the Hero I-League at the Kalyani Stadium here on Sunday to collect three crucial points.
It was a must-win match for the side from Mumbai and this marks Kenkre’s third victory in four games as they continue their battle for survival in the league.
The survival battle between the two relegation-threatened clubs began with Kenkre dominating the proceedings with some deft passes in an attempt to keep their opponents at bay. Zacharie Mbenda attempted the first shot of the match as early as the third minute from outside the box. However, it went wide.
The first significant chance of the match fell to Real Kashmir as they came close in the eighth minute when an unmarked Kshetrimayum Malemnganba Meitei dashed towards the opponent’s box with the ball. However, he took too long to take his shot, and by then Mbenda had already caught him and was vying with him for the ball. Malem Meitei did try his luck, though, but his shot was a long way from the goal post.
Kenkre were awarded a free kick in the 14th minute. However, it did not materialize into anything as there was not enough power in Aravindraj Rajan’s shot. Despite the fact that Kenkre dominated the game for the first 15 minutes, Real Kashmir had more attempts during that time.
The first substitution of the game came in the 16th minute when Kenkre were forced to replace Ranjeet Singh Pandre with Yash Mhatre due to an injury. During the first quarter, Malem Meitei was the standout performer for the Kashmir-based team, as he generated multiple opportunities and was the most active player on the field.
In the 25th minute, Kenkre won another free-kick from a long distance, and this time Vijay Nagappan took the shot and nearly struck the back of the net. It was, however, cleared in time by the Real Kashmir FC defence. Real Kashmir defender Prakash Sarkar was the first player to get booked as he received a yellow card in the 34th minute.
Akeraj Martins took a shot in the 35th minute from distance in an attempt to put his team ahead but his shot flew above the bar. In the first half, Kenkre’s best chance came from a corner in the 37th minute. Vijay Nagappan took the corner and found Pravitto Raju in the box with a good pass. Despite being unmarked, the midfielder was unable to put the ball into the back of the net from just outside the 6-yard box.