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KOffi salvages first point for Churchill Bros

Vasco: Churchill Brothers finally earned their first point of the season after debutant Mechah Koffi’s 75th minute strike cancelled out Joby Justin’s opener (26′) as the I-League 2017-18 clash against East Bengal, at the Tilak Maidan, on Monday.The home side made four changes from their last outing with Banpynkhrawnam Nongkhlaw, Alber Gonsalves, Eric Obinna Chukwunyelu being replaced by Wayne Vaz, Alber Gonsalves and Mechac Koffi. Former Pune FC man PM Britto also made his first season start.Vaz and Martins have been acquired on-loan from Indian Super League (ISL) outfits FC Pune City and FC Goa respectively while Koffi is one of the four new signings alongside Bektur Talgat, Cisse Gwada and Hussein Eldor.East Bengal made only the solitary change as Cavin Lobo made way for Mohammed Rafique in the midfield. Jobby Justin continued to feature up top as Willis Plaza made his way into the bench after being declared fit.
Churchill Brothers could have had the first bite of the cherry in the 10th minute but Uttam Rai wasn’t able to connect cleanly to Nicholas Fernandes’ cross after an exemplary pass from Obga Kalu to the left winger. Nicholas did well to set up Peter Omoduemuke but the Nigerian shot over the target and a couple of minutes later the home side were behind.
Jobby Justin dived in to nod Laldanmawia Ralte’s delivery from the right with the initiation of the attack provided by Katsumi Yusa in the 26th minute.The lead was almost doubled by Mahmoud Al-Amna who ran himself in an on-side position to get on the end of Justin’s through ball. However, despite a timely reaction by Osagie Mondayrooted, the Syrian effort crept past the far post.Lalram Chullova’s cross after being released on the right by Danmawia in the second half was in a dangerous area but both Justin and Yusa were beaten by the flight of the ball in the box.Kalu missed the target by inches after a free-kick taken by Peter was cleared as far as the Churchill medio around the hour mark. The Red Machines eventually replied back with a goal in the 75th minute when Koffi controlled the ball and curled it past a hapless Luis Barreto from around 18 yeards after a neat one-two with Britto. [H]

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