RoundGlass Punjab FC (RGPFC) remained on top of the points table despite a 1-1 draw with Real Kashmir in the top-of-the-table clash at the Kalyani Stadium in West Bengal on Thursday, February 18. Joseba Beitia’s first goal of this season was equalized by Real Kashmir’s Dipanda Dicka in a dramatic second half, which also saw two red cards.
RoundGlass Punjab did not make any changes in the line-up from their win against Chennai City in their previous game. Real Kashmir, which is No. 2 on the points table, made two changes, bringing Dipanda Dicka and Lalrindika Ralte back to the starting line-up after their thrilling 4-3 win against NEROCA.
RGPFC thoroughly dominated the game and got their first opportunity in the 6th minute when Papa Babacar Diawara’s lobbed header was cleared off the line by Mason Robertson. The game slowly settled down as RoundGlass Punjab continued to dominate the possession (67%).
Real Kashmir got their first chance when Lukman Adefemi had a half-chance after Mason Robertson headed Lalrandika’s knockback into the Nigerian’s path, but the striker ballooned his volley. Both sides then headed into the halftime break without troubling the scoreboard.
RGPFC came close again to opening the scoreline through a long throw in the 56th minute. However, Diawara headed the ball inches wide of the goal after Irshad’s flick inside the box.
There was a dramatic moment in the 63rd minute when Chencho Gyeltshen was fouled by Haroon Amiri; after that, in an off-the-ball incident, the referee gave red cards to both the players.
The opening goal finally came after Dharmaraj Ravanan tripped substitute Sumit Passi inside the penalty box, and Beitia opened his account this season with his penalty low past Mithun Samantha on the 67th minute.
RoundGlass Punjab’s lead lasted hardly five minutes as the Snow Leopards scored with their very next corner. Robertson was at the end of Sena Ralte’s long cross into the area. The defender sent his first-time cross across the goal where Dicka headed the ball over the line, levelling the scoreline. Both sides kept pushing hard but could not find a late winner and another crucial game in the Hero I-League finished in a stalemate.