Churchill Brothers Sports Club came from a goal down to register a well deserved 3-1 win over Pailan Arrows in the I-League match played at Duler grounds, here on Wednesday.
With today’s win Churchill continue to stay on top of the I-League table with 31 points from 13 matches, while Pailan Arrows stay on 14 points from 14 matches.
The only Goan stalwart Prathamesh Maulingkar drew the first blood for Pailan Arrows (56th min), while Churchill Brothers slammed three goals in a matter of five minutes through Gabonese Henri Arnaud (2) and Israil Gurung.
Both the sides played almost on equal footing in the first session of play, but yet failed to break the deadlock.
A fine low cross by Stevan Dias in the 13th minute saw Pailan Arrows defender Pritam Kotal come with a timely clearance, before Lebanese Akram Moghrabi could get to the ball.
Another chance went abegging for the Red Machine as substitute Israil Gurung on getting hold of a pass from Roberto Silva darted inside the danger zone, but failed to hold on to the ball in the process getting a caution card from the referee for faking.
Pailan Arrows had two attempts at the rival goal, through Holicharan Narzry 25-yard fierce shot and a stinging free kick by Ongnam Milan Singh.
Superb defending by skipper Shouvik Ghosh and Prathamesh Maulingkar gave very little space for Akram Moghrabi to have one good look at the Pailan goal, where he was replaced by Henri Arnaud early at the start of the second session.
In the 56th minute, Holicharan moved with lightning speed on the left flank and on entering the danger zone drilled a power-packed left footer, where Churchill keeper Sandip Nandy flung to his left, to push the ball for a corner. Ongnam’s corner saw Prathamesh Maulingkar leap high above the Churchill defence to head the ball, which brushed the keeper’s hands into the goal, 1-0.
Stung by the reverse Churchill were all over the rival territory and should have scored in the very second minute, when Henri Arnaud was brought down by Shouvik Ghosh inside the penalty box, but Churchill Brothers strong appeal was turned down by referee Andrew Shekar.
However, in the 60th minute, all the frustration from the players cooled down as Henri Arnaud on getting a pass from Roberto Silva, slotted the ball into the nets, 1-1.
Pepped up by the equalizer, the Red Machine hammered in two more goals in the 63rd and 65th minute of play. A long floater by International Denzil Franco saw Roberto break the offside trap and unselfishly square the ball to Henri who finished clinically, 2-1.
The most valuable player of today’s match Roberto Silva once again did the spadework and set up Henri who relayed the ball to unmarked Israil Gurung, who fired the ball past the helpless Pailan Arrow keeper, 3-1.
In the closing stages both the sides had two scoring chances where Lenny Rodrigues’ shot sailed inches over the cross piece, while Henri hit the side netting.
At the other end, former International keeper Sandip Nandy displayed his superb reflexes by bringing two superlative saves to deny substitute Tirthankar Sarkar and Holicharan Narzary from scoring. [NT]