Churchill beat Bagan, delay Dempo’s crowning
Margao: Churchill Brothers delayed Dempo’s crowning as I-League champions by scoring an emphatic 4-0 win over Mohun Bagan in a 24th round match at the Nehru Stadium here on Friday.
Churchill, who led 3-0 at half time, scored through Odafe Okalie (20th, 52nd), Felix Chimaokwu (26th) and Ogba Kalu Nnanna. With the two goals on Friday, Odafe’s individual goal tally reached 21.
The win takes Churchill to 38 points from 22 matches, the same as Mahindra United but remain on third place due to inferior goal difference.
Bagan remained on fifth with 32 points from 23 matches after Friday’s defeat.
Churchill, who needed a win to delay Dempo’s crowning, started aggressively and after missing a close chance went ahead in the 20th minute.
Kalu relayed the ball to Odafe Okolie who beat a couple of defenders and essayed a shot that deflected defender from N S Manju and caught goalkeeper Shilton Paul on the wrong side to find the net.
Odafe and Felix combined nicely upfront and got good support from behind especially from Kalu. Bagan’s defence was caught napping on a number of occasions and Churchill increased the lead in the 26th minute.
Kalu sent a through pass to Felix who took a defender in his stride and essayed a stiff grounder that hit goalkeeper Paul’s leg before finding the net.
Bagan citadel fell again in the 31st minute when Kalu headed home the ball off a flag kick taken by Lalrindika from the right.
Bagan regrouped and created a lot of scoring chances but poor finishing by their forwards let them down especially Jose Barretto who had four scoring chances.
Twice his attempt was saved on the goal-line by defender Rowilson and substitute Raju.
Atfer the change over, Churchill continued their attacking game and put the match beyond the reach of Bagan. Felix tried to dribble past Deepak Mondal, the ball deflected his leg and fell on the path of Odafe who shot in on the run to complete the rout and remain the leading scorer with 21 goals.
Towards the end, Felix could have swelled the lead when his rasping left footer hit the underneath of the cross bar and returned to play.