Punjab FC – 0 Gokulam Kerala FC – 0
Bhubaneswar: Punjab FC (PFC) were held on to a goalless draw by I-League side Gokulam Kerala FC in the final match of Group C in the Kalinga Super Cup 2024. Punjab FC finished the tournament, finishing in third in the group with two points while Gokulam finished last with one point.
PFC Head Coach Staikos Vergetis made six changes to the starting line-up bringing in Tekcham Abhishek Singh, Maheson Singh Tongbram, Melroy Assisi, Juan Mera, Daniel Lalhlimpuia and Nitesh Darjee in place of Khaimingthang Lhungdim, Brandon Vanlalremdika, Suresh Meitei, Madih Talal, Luka Majcen and Mohammed Salah. Gokulam Kerala Head Coach Domingo Oramas also made seven changes to his starting line-up in the final match of the tournament for both sides.
Both teams tried to control the possession in the midfield in the initial exchanges with Gokulam Kerala starting with the better possession and Immanuel Justine tested the PFC keeper with a shot from inside the box. The ISL side slowly came into the game but could not create clear cut chances with Gokulam Kerala holding their line in defence, denying space inside the box. Maheson won the loose ball near the Gokulam box and his left foot shot went just wide of the post. Both teams failed to create any more chances, completely cancelling each other out in all departments.
Ashis Pradhan was brought in the beginning of the second half for Ricky Shabong and later Luka Majcen, Madih Talal and Manglenthang Kipgen were introduced for Juan Mera, Daniel Lalhlimpuia and Maheson Singh to alter the speed of the game. Gokulam Kerala had to change their goalkeeper Bishorjit Singh as he got injured with Avilash Paul replacing him. The second half also panned out to be similar as the first, with both teams struggling to find openings with the match largely played in the centre of the pitch. Both sides were trying to play safe rather than taking risks to create chances and open the scoring. Punjab unfortunately could not make use of the set pieces with Madih Talal getting close to score from a direct free kick.
Gokulam Kerala were reduced to 10 men in the 88th minute with Basit Bhat shown the matching orders for his second booking. Punjab FC tried to capitalize on the man advantage but Gokulam thwarted those attempts. The Malabarian’s could have stolen the game in injury time as P.N Noufal forced Kiran Kumar Limbu to a fingertip save from a long range effort. On the other end, Luka Majcen fluffed a chance to steal the win as his shot went wayward as both teams were satisfied with a point each. Melroy Assisi was named the Kalinga Player of the Match in a game of defenders which also saw the first 0-0 draw of the Super Cup.