Gokulam Kerala falls to Maziya in the AFC Cup 2022
A file image of Gokulam Kerala.|
On Saturday, Gokulam Kerala FC lost 1-0 to Maziya of the Maldives in their second AFC Cup 2022 Group D encounter at the Salt Lake Stadium in Kolkata. Cornelius Stewart's goal in the 50th minute was enough to separate the two teams; had the Kerala won, they would have entered semis.
Gokulam Kerala would have advanced to the inter-zone play-off semi-finals with a win. Due to the 1-0 loss, all four clubs in the group are tied for third place with three points apiece. The victor of Group D will now be determined on Tuesday's final matchday.
Despite coming off a 4-2 win against ATK Mohun Bagan in their previous match, Gokulam Kerala got off to a slow start against Maziya, who had lost their first match to Bashundhara Kings. The Maldivian club's first attempt at goal came in the fifth minute, but Hussain Nihan's volley five minutes later came dangerously close to putting Maziya ahead. The shot was somewhat off to the right.
Cornelius Stewart, Tana, and Ibrahim Aisham led the Maziya forward in possession and troubled the Malabarians, but they couldn't find the finishing touch, and the first half concluded with no goals. Early after the break, though, the scoreboard began to tick, with Maziya's Sterwart receiving a through ball from Tana and putting it into the net from within the box.
In the 65th minute, Gokulam had two chances in short succession, but Alex Saji's header was saved and Abdul Hakku headed a cross beyond. Maziya, on the other hand, had a chance to increase their advantage in the 78th minute when Tana's long free-kick struck the woodwork. Nemanja Kartal's header from a corner struck the crossbar minutes later.
In the end, Stewart's score was enough to secure a 1-0 victory for Maziya. On Tuesday, Gokulam Kerala will face Bashundhara Kings, while ATK Mohun Bagan will face Maziya in their final group fixtures.