Churchill down Air India in 2nd round of I-League

Margao: Churchill Brothers scored a goal in each half to down Air India to register their second straight win in the second round of the I-League, played at Nehru Stadium on Saturday.

Churchill Brothers scored through Henri Arnaud Autchouet(25) and N D Opara in the second minute of the stoppage time of the second half.

The Goan team who beat East Bengal in their opening encounter, started right in earnest with short passes from the middle followed by long overheads from the flanks putting the rival defence virtually under seige for the first half an hour and could have led by at least three goals in the first quarter of the match but for execellent saves from keeper Pawan Kumar.

They hardly felt the absence of Roberto Silva who is nursing an knee injury.

Lalrindika Ralte who worked hard on the left which earned him the Man of the Match kept Air India team under pressure with his looping crosses and was first to test keeper Pawan when he stretched him to punch the ball over the bar in the 2nd minute.

Few minutes later, Opara shot was saved on the goal line by defender Collin Abranches. Thereafter, Henri and LalrindikaR alte shot in turn but failed to beat keeper who effected smart save.

With pressure mounting and Air India pushed on the defensive, their citadel finally fell in the 25th minute.

Ralte worked his way on the left flank and relayed the ball to Henri Arnaud Autchouet who beat the keeper with a firm left footer that found the corner of the net.

Churchill could have doubled the lead five minutes before the first half but defender Bijoy Basfore made a goal line save off a header from Antun Mathew Kovacic After the goal, Churchill failed to maintain the same momentum and Air India came out from the shell and tried couple of long rangers which lacked the direction.

After the change of ends, Air India put up a better performance and matched their rivals and nearly found the equaliser in the 47th minute but Henry Ezeh was blocked by keeper Felix.

Air India again came close to find the equalizer midway in the second half when Nepoleon Singh`s 35-yard shot nearly found the net but Churchill`s keeper Felix D`Souza rose high to punch the ball away to safety.

Churchill made a counter move and Lalrindika nearly found the net but his try from the left hit the bar and went out.

Thereafter the play was confined to midfield and Churchill who came close to scoring on couple of occasions, scored in the second minute of the stoppage time of the second half.

Substitute Jagpreet Singh from the right sent a cross to N D Opara who beat a rival defender on the top of the box with a body feint and on the turn uncorked a left-footer that found the far end of the net.

Churchill Brothers who scored their second win now have six points from two matches while Air India who lost their second match are still to open their account.


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