Gokulam Kerala FC came up with a fine second half performance to overwhelm Tiddim Road Athletic Union (TRAU) FC of Imphal 4-1 in the final round of the championship leg at the Kishore Bharati Stadium on Saturday. TRAU FC scored once to lead the first half.
Former champion Churchill Brothers also won its final round match against RoundGlass Punjab FC 3-2, at the Salt Lake Stadium, to form a two-way tie on 29 points with Gokulam Kerala at the top of the standings.
But the Malabarians edged past the Red Machines with a better head-to-head record and became the first team from Kerala to win the title.
TRAU FC took the third spot with 26 points while RoundGlass Punjab (22), Real Kashmir (21) and Mohammedan Sporting of Kolkata (20) completed the standings in the championship leg.
Gokulam Kerala FC 4 (Sharif Mohammad 69, Emil Benny 74, Dennis Antwi 77, Muhammad Rashid 90+6) bt TRAU FC 1 (Bidyashagar Singh 23).
Churchill Brothers 3 (Luka Majcen 8, Clayvin Zuniga 25, 45+3) bt RoundGlass Punjab FC 2 (Joseba Beitia 65, Papa Babacar Diawara 69).