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Churchill stun East Bengal
April 11, 2007 21:37 IST
Former champions East Bengal suffered a jolt, going down to spirited Churchill Brothers 2-3 in a 13th round match of the ONGC National Football League, at the Nehru stadium in Fatorda, Goa, on Wednesday.
Vanlal Rova (25th minute) and Odafe Okolie (53rd and 88th minutes) scored for Churchill Brothers while Edmison Pardal (40th minute) and Alvito D'Cunha (87th minute) accounted for East Bengal's goal.
With the victory Churchill increased their tally to 19 points and jumped to fourth place, displacing Air India (17 points) to fifth place.
East Bengal remain in third place with 22 points from 13 outings.
In an evenly-balanced, fast-paced first session, Churchill dominated the proceedings for the first 25 minutes and had a chance to surge ahead as early as the fifth minute, but Rova, after collecting a pass from Okolie, unleashed a shot that was smartly saved by rival goalkeeper Naseem Akhtar.
In the 24th minute, Odafe's full-blooded shot was saved by the rival keeper, but the ball travelled towards George Ekeh, whose hasty shot went wide.
Churchill drew first blood in the 25th minute through Rova. As George Ekeh tried to dodge past a rival defender, the ball ricocheted towards Rova, who was lurking near the goal. He pounced upon the opportunity and scored to make it 1-0.
Stung by the early reverse, East Bengal stepped up their game and made desperate attempts to equalise. In the 28th minute, Boniface Ambani's header sailed over the bar. Again, in the 32nd minute, they had another chance, but Churchill goalkeeper Vinay Singh palmed away Ambani's shot. The ball travelled towards Edmision Pardal, whose shot was also smartly punched away for a corner by Vinay.
East Bengal restored parity five minutes before half-time through Edmison Morgues Pardal, who chested a pass from Ambani and shot into the net (1-1).
After the change over, Churchill played with renewed vigour and increased their lead in the 53rd minute through Okolie, who, after collecting a pass from Zenith Jenius, beat the rival defence, deceived the goalkeeper and scored (2-1).
Inspired by the lead, Churchill continued to attack and had another chance to consolidate in the 70th minute, but Odafe, collecting a pass from Zenith, dribbled past rival defenders and shot wide.
East Bengal equalised in the 87th minute through D'Cunha, whose power-packed left-footer found the far corner of the net (2-2).
However, a minute later, Churchill Brothers scored the winning goal through Okolie following a well-measured pass from D Raju (3-2).
Churchill's Zenith Jenious was adjudged man of the match.