An inspired Chidi Edeh scored a couple of goals to aid his side in going top of the table after six rounds of matches...East Bengal downed Churchill Brothers SC 3-0 to move atop the I-League standings in their sixth round encounter played at the Fatorda Stadium in Goa, on Saturday evening.
Chidi Edeh opened the scoring in the first five minutes of the game before Manandeep Singh (77') scored a screamer in the second half. Chidi added another to his name by scoring late into the injury time to inflict further misery on the home side.
Churchill Brothers made no changes to the starting line-up that featured against Salgaocar, while the away side came into the match with one change with Subodh Kumar in the first 11 in place of Mehtab Hussain who started on the bench.
Out of no where did East Bengal midfielder Penn Orji find Edeh Chidi in the opposition box, while the Nigerian made the best of a defensive lapse to tap home rather easily in the fifth minute. The move was initiated by midfielder Harmanjot Singh Khabra.
The home side suddenly found themselves under immense pressure and started making forward arrays in numbers but their crosses were wayward from the wide players as they struggled to find their teammates in the box.
Uga Okpara was in top form as he single-handedly was winning almost all of the aerial duels in the East Bengal box.
Just after the half hour mark, Manandeep Singh had forced Churchill keeper Sandip Nandy to make a save after an initial shot by Khabra was blocked.
Churchill striker Akram Moghrabi, on most occasions, found himself haplessly waiting at the center of the rival goalmouth.
Ten minutes in the second half saw a moment of confusion in the Churchill box as keeper Sandip Nandy stayed a few yards off his line after punching away Naoba Singh's cross. Denzil Franco was however in the right place to head out Penn Orji's effort on goal and thus keep the scoreline intact.
In the 57th minute, East Bengal goalkeeper Gurpreet Singh Sandhu dived to his left to make a rare save in the match to keep out Moghrabi's header from a Dias cross.
Chidi tried to make the best of a little nudge by Churchill Brothers defender Bilal Najjarine after being released by Penn Orji in the 66th minute. However Nandy was brave enough to charge in to make the save.
The simplest of passes in the midfield by Penn Orji to Manandeep Singh saw the latter move a couple of yards to his left before unleashing a powerful left-footer past Sandip Nandy, from about 30 yards out, to double East Bengal's lead in the 76th minute.
Churchill Brothers had a good opportunity to pull back a goal in the 82nd minute through Ajay Singh, who should have taken it on the volley after receiving a lob from Bilal Najjarine, but instead went to control the ball that was swept away from his feet by Naoba Singh thereafter.
Chidi scored his second of the game in the fourth minute of the injury time from a counter-attack as Gurtej Singh allowed the Nigerian to go past him and literally walk the ball home.
As a result East Bengal (14) pipped Dempo (13) to the top spot in the I-League standings while Churchill Brothers are third on the table with 12 points from six matches.
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