Churchill to face Prayag United in Durand Cup final

New Delhi: Former champions Churchill Brothers outplayed Shillong Lajong FC 4-1 to set up a summit clash against Prayag United in the Durand Cup football tournament.

Steven Dias (25th), Henri Arnaud (28), Bineesh Balan (48th) and Roberto Mendid Silva (76th) found the target for Churchill while John Menyongar scored the consolation goal for Lajong in the 43rd minute in the second semifinal at Ambedkar Stadium.

Prayag United had defeated Pune FC 2-0 in the first semifinal yesterday.

Twice champions Churchill will, however, miss their star striker Henri Arnaud in the final on Saturday as the Gabon international was sent off in the 55th minute after receiving a second yellow card.

In a fast paced match, Churchill Brothers surged ahead in the 25th minute. De Silva took a low and quick free kick from the left to the top of the box. A lurking Dias side-footed the ball goalwards and it entered the net via a deflection off Lajong central defender Aibor Khongjee.

Three minutes later, the Goan side doubled the lead with De Silva speeding down the left before flicking the ball to Henri who overtook his marker and shot home past an onrushing goalkeeper Lalthuammawaia.

In the 43rd minute, Lajong pulled one back. Eugenson Lygdoh`s accurate corner kick was headed in by tiny Menyongar who outjumped his 6ft 3 inches marker Anjun Kovacic to head in.

Cheered on by their vociferous supporters, Lajong started brightly in the second half.

However in the 48th minute, Dias` accurate free kick was headed into the corner of the net by a diving Bineesh Balan.

In the 76th minute, midfielder M P Zakeeer, who excelled today with mobility and clever passing, took a low free kick from the right and De Silva darted in to prod into the net.

PTI

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