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Friday, August 19, 2022

Thousands brave winter chill, witness Real Kashmir’s long-awaited match

On Thursday, Real Kashmir hosted I-league champions Chennai City at TRC Turf Ground, drawing several thousand in the stands.

The ground has a seating capacity of around 13,000. (Photo: SHUAIB MASOODI)

Braving winter chill and cold weather, the Valley witnessed its first major sporting event in Srinagar since the revocation of the special status of Jammu and Kashmir on August 5. On Thursday, Real Kashmir hosted I-League champions Chennai City at TRC Turf Ground, drawing several thousand in the stands.

Unlike past, however, the attendance was less, with rows and rows of seats remaining empty during the match. “The seating capacity is around 13,000 at the ground. Today, we saw around 5000-6000 people present at the match,” Umar Amin, Media Manager of Real FC the told The Indian Express. “The match ended peacefully.”


real kashmir, real kashmir chennai city, real kashmir i league, danish farooq, i league, indian football, football news, weather news, indian express Security personnel watch Real Kashmir’s match against Chennai City at TRC Turf Ground in Srinagar on Thursday. Kashmir won 2-1. (AIFF)

Thursday’s match — which Real Kashmir won 2-1 — was the first home game of the season, after Real Kashmir’s previous match against Gokulam Kerala, which was to be played on December 12, had to be rescheduled due to adverse weather conditions. Real Kashmir’s next match here will be on January 5 against Mohun Bagan.

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Since early morning, hundreds of fans arrived at the ground to watch the match despite the sub-zero temperatures during the night and the day temperature dipping significantly ahead of the New Year. On December 21, the 40-day chill period Chilai Kalan started in the valley with locals gearing up for some harsh weather conditions.

The match on Thursday afternoon, however, started in sunshine. “I am a hardcore football fan. I left early morning to reach here and to support Real Kashmir,” says Arshid Ahmad, a resident of North Kashmir’s Sopore – 50 kilometers away from Srinagar.

Real Kashmir FC and Chennai City players in action at TRC Turf Ground in Srinagar on Thursday. (Photo: SHUAIB MASOODI)

While the match was going on at the ground, BJP General Secretary Ram Madhav arrived at the ground and watched the match briefly. Talking to media persons on the sidelines, Madhav said he was “delighted to be present today at this match.” “I am happy that I witnessed two first two goals and both were by Real Kashmir FC,” he said.

READ | Real Kashmir FC: The right foot forward

Kashmir has witnessed a complete lockdown since August 5, when the government revoked the special status of Jammu and Kashmir and bifurcated the state into two Union Territories. While the businessmen, after the restrictions were lifted, did not open the shops for the whole day, there has been a change in the last two weeks, as the shops are now open and public transport is also back on the roads.


Team officials told The Indian Express that the J&K police had advised them not to sell more tickets and keep the tickets limited. “We had initially sold more than 2000 tickets because it was the first big event post-August 5. But then there was more crowd at the ground and it reached over 5000,” said an official. “We are hopeful that there will be more crowd in the next match.”

Farooq, Armand score in Kashmir’s maiden win

PTI: Taking advantage of the home conditions, Real Kashmir on Thursday scored their first victory of the ongoing I League season with a 2-1 defeat of the defending champion Chennai City. Danish Farooq (22nd minute) and Ivory’s Bazie Armand (27th) scored for the winners while Syed Suhail Pasha was the lone scorer for the visitors as he found the net in the 48th minute. Real Kashmir had drawn their away matches against Kolkata giants East Bengal and Tiddim Road Athletic Union (TRAU) of Imphal before taking on the Holders.

The win takes Real Kashmir to seventh place in the standings with five points, while the defending champions drop to eighth place with an inferior goal difference of -2.

First published on: 27-12-2019 at 05:01:50 am
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