I-League 2017-18: Churchill win but Alfred Fernandes not happy with refereeing

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A Koffi Mechac goal helped the Red Machines get level on points with Paulo Meneses' men in the league table...

Churchill Brothers registered their fifth win in six games as they beat Aizawl FC 1-0 in Goa on Tuesday. A 21st minute strike from Koffi Mechac was enough to seal the three points for the hosts against the reigning champions. Although coach Alfred Fernandes was happy with the win, he was furious with the standard of refereeing in the game.

"(We were denied) two clear penalties. Forget about the sending off (of C. Lalrosanga in the 80th minute). Before that the match would have been put to bed. Referees are also human but even some of the opponent players admitted that both were clear penalties. Though at the end of the day, the three points are very vital," expressed Fernandes.

The Goan coach was cautious when speaking about his sides' next opponent, Indian Arrows. In their previous encounter Churchill Brothers had to toil hard to get the winning goal against the blue cubs.

"We cannot take Indian Arrows for granted. We cannot be complacent against any team. The way they (Arrows) fought against us in the last match, we scored only in the last 10-to-15 minutes or so. So there is no easy game. They are very experienced playing in the top level in the (U17) World Cup and they will come hard at us," stated Fernandes.

The Goan coach accepted that the good run of form has given the team a boost in confidence and now even in away fixtures they would like to go for the win rather than a point.

"Goa is our home and we have our home advantage to our liking. If we can put the points on the table with the games in Goa, then we can be confident to come out with three points from our away matches too," said Fernandes confidently.

On the other hand, Aizawl coach Paulo Meneses blamed the the tight schedule for his sides' dip in performance in recent matches.

"I think the (AFC) Champions League game complicated our schedule. When you need to change the East Bengal match from the 29th to 16th, if it was difficult, it became even more difficult. Now we go to play against NEROCA, then two days in Aizawl and we come back here (to face Indian Arrows)," rued Meneses. 

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The Portuguese coach also lamented his squad size and believes that the transfer of H Lalmuankima to FC Goa in the January transfer window dealt a blow to his planning and organisation.

"After we lost Kareem (Nurain), the team has not been the same. We tried to find solutions but the issues remain. Not just Kareem, it's the same case with Mka (H. Lalmuankima) - the winger who left (who joined FC Goa) in January," he said.

"The team in that time (with Nurain and Lalmuankima) in the first five matches worked very well. It (the team) was like a machine. We were controlling 90 per cent of the games with ball possession and were reaching the (opponent's) box many times. So it looks like these two players changed the dynamics," Meneses added before concluding. 

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