Churchill taste first win, thrash Singapore's Warriors 3-0
Pune: A depleted Churchill Brothers today registered their first win in the AFC Cup with a 3-0 thrashing of Singapore`s Warriors FC in their third group match of the continental football tournament here.
Vales Jaison put Churchill ahead in the 37th minute before Bikramjit Singh doubled the lead in the 44th minute as the home side went into the lemon break 2-0 upfront. India captain Sunil Chhetri then sealed the game with a strike in the 83rd minute.
The Goan side, who were playing their home matches at the Balewadi Sports Complex here as the Nehru Stadium at Margao was not available, had to make changes to their line-up due to injuries.
Felix De Souza got a start at the goal and Naveen Kumar, Sanjay Balmuchu Amandeep Singh Bains and Vales Jaison, were included in the playing eleven.
Despite some non-regular first eleven players taking the field, Churchill comfortably outplayed the Singaporean side.
The opening half an hour was an even contest with both sides probing each other before the home side took the lead with a stunning strike from Jaison.
The left winger picked up the ball in the midfield and tried his luck from outside the box. Warriors FC goalkeeper was taken by surprise by Jaison`s effort and could not save the ball from finding the back of the net.
Churchill did not give the shell-shocked Singaporean side much time to regroup as Chhetri set it up for Bikramjit to give the home team a 2-0 lead.
Chhetri broke forward down the right wing and, with just the keeper to beat, squared the ball to Bikramjit, who had the easy task of tapping the ball home just a minute before the break.
The second session also saw Churchill dominating possession and Chhetri was found at the thick of things as he linked up nicely with his wingers and often penetrated the backline of the Warriors.
Chhetri dribbled past two defenders midway into the second session, but hit his shot wide of the goal, before Afghan international Balal Arezou, who had an ordinary outing on his AFC Cup debut, cut into the box and unleashed a shot which Warriors keeper did well to palm away for a corner.
Just a few minutes later, Chhetri failed to hit the target from a mere three yards.
The India captain put his name in the scoresheet in the 83rd minute with Ravanan Dharmaraj playing a through-ball to Arezou, who found Chhetri with a square pass. Chhetri dribbled past the keeper and slotted the ball into an empty net.
With today`s win, Churchill moved to third place in the group with four points from three games, while Warriors FC remained at the bottom of the table with no points from three games.