Margao: Super-sub Opara Noubuisi scored a hat-trick to guide Churchill Brothers to an inspiring 4-0 win over Chirag United Kerala and move to second place of the I-League at a match played at Nehru Stadium, Fatorda, on Wednesday.
Churchill found the going tough in the first half as the visitors came close to scoring on three occasions.
In the second half, Technical Director Subhash Bhowmick made two quick changes, bringing in Raju Yumnam and Opara Noubuisi in place of Antun Mathew Kovacic and Zakeer Mundampara.
Man of the match Opara broke the deadlock in the 53rd when he scored from a penalty. He then increased the lead in the 63rd minute.
A swift move from the right between Roberto Silva and Henri Autochouet saw the latter sending a deep cross into the box, which Opara managed to put into the net.
He then completed his hatrick in the 70th minute, when he received a pass from Lalrindika Ratle, got the better of two rival defenders and took a shot at the goal.
Steven Dias scored in the 80th minute off a pass from substitute Binesh Balan.
Chirag United, fighting to avoid relegation, started aggressively and had major share of exchanges in the first half. David Sunday forced rival keeper Arindam Bhattacharya to make a diving save in the 5th minute.
Arindam again made a save when he collected the ball off Sunday`s header off a free kick taken by Faisal.
With Wednesday’s win, Churchill took their tally to 41 points from 22 matches, the same as East Bengal who have played one more match. But on Head-to-Head count, Churchill Brothers, who have beaten East Bengal, move to second place.
Dempo is leading the table with 47 points. Chirag United Kerala remains on 17 points from 22 matches.