Kozhikode: Gokulam rode on Arjun Jayaraj’s late strike to notch up their maiden home win in a five-goal thriller at the EMS Corporation Stadium here on Sunday. It lifted them to eight on 10 points from 11 games.
Lajong are three rungs above on fifth with 17 points after 13 games. It was they however who had the initail chance when Emmanuel Chigozie miscued one into the path of Abdoulaye Koffi, however Bilal Khan stood up to the task, muscling it away with a powerful reflex.
But Koffi didn’t fluff the next giving Lajong an lead early in the 25th minute after Saihou Jagne’s cross took a deflection of Khan to land into the Ivorian’s feet and he made no mistake from a goalmouth-melee.
The Malabarians came close but Kivi Zhimomi’s header from a Santu Singh cross struck the upright, as Lajong went ahead 1-0 at half-time.
However if the first-half was an example of Gokulam’s defensive lapses, the second-half was Lajong’s turn to miss. Seven minutes into the second-half Mahmood Al-Ajmi with a wonderfully taken curled free-kick but they concede again within the next 60 seconds.
The home side had not even completed celebrating when Korean defender Juho Oh headed Lajong ahead from a Samuel cross, leaping the highest in the 53rd minute.
Emmanuel Chigozie then had a glorious chance to make it 2-2 when one-on-one with Lajong goalkeeper Nidhin Pal, but failed to beat him from a close range shot.
Bino George’s boys however kept on trying and their persistence fnally paid-off when Salman once again found Zhimomi and the latter struck at try bootm-left corner to level terms.
Still searching their first home win, Gokulam then put more men up-front often pushing the inexperienced Lajong men into pressure and sealed the game in their favour.
Arjun Jayaraj whizzled past the Lajong defenders in the final minute to make it 3-2 with a left-foot winner.