United SC shock Churchill Brothers 3-2
Kalyani (West Bengal): Ranty Martins struck twice as United SC came back from behind to stun defending champions Churchill Brothers 3-2 in an eighth round I-League clash here.
Balwant Singh struck a double (25th and 47th minutes) to give Churchill a 2-0 lead but eight minutes later C K Vineeth pulled one back, while Martins came back to form after a prolonged lean patch by scoring back to back goals (78th and 88th) to seal a thrilling win.
Yet to win a match in this season`s I-League, Churchill had more setback in store when Denzil Franco was sent off in the 89th minute after stamping Vineeth.
With four wins from nine matches, United SC now have 15 points, while Churchill (three points) remained one notch above bottom-ranked Rangdajied United from eight outings.
Desperate to return to winning ways, United`s Dutch coach Eelco Schattorie made a number of changes bringing in Ishan Debnath in place of an injured Sangram Mukherjee under the bar, while Belo Rasaq, Vineeth and Baldeep Singh too returned to the XI.
Having returned as Churchill Technical Director after the successful last season, Subhas Bhowmick, on the other hand, retained the same team that drew against Shillong Lajong FC.
United SC had a positive start with Martins lurking on front and their appeal for a penalty was turned down in the 21st minute when Vineeth seemed to have been brought down by Arindam Bhattacharya.
It was Churchill who drew first blood when Alesh Sawant ran down the left wing and gave a measured cross for Balwant to bulge the net.
Two minutes after the changeover, Balwant completed his double slotting it past Anupam Sarkar.
But there was more action in store when Vineeth headed it home from an Eric Brown kick, while Martins brought on the equaliser with a left-footed attempt from a melee.
There was no looking back for the United SC as Martins fired in the winner from a Jayanta Sen corner kick to bring the crowd to its feet.