Come Saturday, Kenkre FC dashed ARA FC’s hopes of qualification to the Hero I-League. Kenkre FC handed a 2-1 defeat to the team hailing from Gujarat in the Pool B encounter. Goals from Azfar Noorani 14 minutes in and Yash Mhatre’s stunning hit in the 67th minute secured Kenkre FC back-to-back victories in Pool B.
In their opening game, they registered a delightful 2-1 win versus Kerala United. Meanwhile, ARA FC kicked off their campaign with a 1-1 tie against debutants Corbett FC. Game number 2 saw them lose 0-3 to Delhi FC. The team from the capital have truly run riot with two wins from two.
Back to today’s game, ARA FC forward Hamidou created an early scoring opportunity 9 minutes in. However, he could not apply the finishing touch to put his team ahead. In the 14th minute, Kenkre FC attackers were sharp as they worked in sync to engineer a sumptuous goal to take a 1-0 lead.
Ranjeet Singh Pandre did well to bring the ball under control and accurately cross it to a waiting Azfar Noorani. Noorani was quick to collect and powered in a shot at the ARA FC goal. Kenkre took the lead as keeper Shubham Rajeshkumar Chauhan was helpless.
The early lead providing a confidence boost, Kenkre FC searched for gaps in the ARA FC setup as they looked to double their advantage. A chance to score arose in the 23rd minute, but they were not able to convert.
In the ensuing minutes, both teams began to slow down their play. Poor passing and disorganized play in the middle of the field followed. Neither side seemed to adhere to their structure and were unable to create any chances.
Nonetheless, things sparked in the 44th minute. Jenishsinh Rana played Saurabh Maheswari with a quality pass up from midfield. Maheswari then drilled a shot on goal but Tenzin Samdup, Kenkre FC keeper, was up to the challenge.
ARA FC Coach Vivek Nagul did not seem happy with his team’s squandered chances, though their numbers depicted better possession levels. His team could not finish them off with goals.
Meanwhile, Kenkre FC started the second half with better direction and organization to their attack. Their strategy proved successful when Yash Mhatre produced an exquisite goal to make it 2-0 (67th minute).
ARA FC tried hopelessly to stage a comeback in the dying embers of the game. They did manage to pull one back in the 70th minute through Dahir Bala Alhassan. However, it was insufficient to disallow Kenkre from taking all three points.
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