Henry`s hat-trick puts Churchill on top
Margao: Gabonese striker Henry Arnaud scored a hat-trick to put Churchill Brothers on top of the table as they hammered Shillong Lajong FC 6-0 in the 10th round of the I-League played at Nehru Stadium, on Saturday.
Churchill, who led 2-0 at half time scored through Beto (29th), Lalrindika Ralte(34th), N D Buisi Opara(48th)and Henry (53rd, 66th, 80th).
Churchill knew that a win would take them to the top spot for the first time displacing Dempo, started in right earnest and made series of moves into the rival half but the visitors matched their rivals in the first half an hour and put up a gritty display with their defenders giving no room for Churchill duo Henry and Opara to operate.
Henry had two chances to put his team ahead but the striker fumbled in front of the goal as first `keeper Soram Poirei Anganba came out to block his shot and latter he shot out from hand-shaking distance.
After these close shaves, Lajong conceded a penalty in the 29th minute when defender Lallchhuanmawia brought down Beto from behind as he was dangerously moving with the ball inside the box.
The resultant penalty was converted by Roberto himself beating the rival keeper to his right.
Lalrindika Ralte than increased the lead in the 34th minute when he essayed a shot from top of the box off a pass from Henri to find the roof of the net to have Churchill leading 2-0 at half time.
There was no stopping for Churchill after the change of ends as the visitors surrendered meekly as they found the combination of Henry and Opara too hot to handle and with good support from Roberto and Lalrindika, Churchill, pumped four more goals with Henri scoring a hat-trick.
Following a combined move between Henry and Opara on the right saw the former relay the ball to Opara who dispatched an angular drive that found the net in the 48th minute.
That opened the floodgates and Henry who was the thorn in the flesh to the rivals then scored a hatrick to give Churchill a resounding win.
First, Lalrindika played a square pass on top of the box for Henry, who dispatched the ball underneath the keeper`s legs into the net.
After 10 minutes, Lajong were reduced to 10 men when referee Rusherkanti Guha gave marching orders to `keeper Soram Poirei Anganba for tackle from behind on Beto inside the box.
Opara who took the penalty failed to beat substitute keeper Lalthuammawia Ralte who dived to his left to effect a save.
Henry, who missed at least three clear chances then scored two more goals to score his first hat-trick.
Leny Rodrigues from the middle put a through pass to Henry, who sprinted into the box and took an angular shot that found the net.
Henry than scored his hat-trick when he put home a cross Steven Dias from the right.
Churchill Brothers with today`s victory moved to top of the table with 23 points from 10 matches, displacing Dempo who have 21 points from 9 matches.
Shillong Lajong remained on ninth place from 12 points from as many matches.