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  • 23 March 2014
  • • 17:00
  • • Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium (Fatorda Stadium), Margao, Goa
  • Referee: P. Singh

Churchill Brothers SC 3-2 Pune FC: Late Balan goal wins it for Red Machines

Churchill Brothers SC 3-2 Pune FC: Late Balan goal wins it for Red Machines

Anselm Noronha/Goal

The Goan outfit came out winners in a five-goal thriller and also climbed out of the rock-bottom position in the league...

Churchill Brothers registered a 3-2 win against Pune FC on Sunday evening in a round 22 I-League match played at Tilak Maidan, Vasco, Goa. Anthony Wolfe (24') started the scoring for the home side, while Mustapha Riga (45'+3) restored parity on the brink of half-time. Mirjan Pavlovic (69') put the Red Lizards in the lead, but Balwant Singh (90') pulled one back for Churchill Brothers before a goal from Bineesh Balan (90'+4) decided the tie in Churchill's favour.

Cristian Lagos was missing from the first eleven for the home side due to personal reasons and Abdelhamid Shabana was suspended for the tie due to the Egyptian midfielder picking four yellow cards, while Denzil Franco and Lenny Rodrigues returned to the starting line-up.

For the away side, Zohmingliana Ralte started in place of Gurjinder Singh. Calum Angus also missed out the tie as he is back in England due to personal reasons, besides Mumtaz Akhtar, with Salam Ranjan Singh and Dhanpal Ganesh making their way in and Anthony D'Souza on the bench.

Ravanan Dharmaraj released Satish Singh on the right, who in turn picked out Balwant Singh in the box. However, the Churchill striker wasn't able to connect well and it ended up as an easy save to make for Amrinder Singh in the fifth minute.

Four minutes later, Pune FC's Mustapha Riga took a shot from the edge of the box, but rival goalkeeper Lalit Thapa got down in time to effect the save while Arata Izumi missed on the volley.

What followed was a high foot by Satish on Arata which left referee Pratap Singh with no other option than to send off the Churchill player in the 13th minute.

In the 21st minute, Mirjan Pavlovic set-up Riga but the Ghanian's shot was poor.

Despite being reduced to 10 men, it was the hosts who took the lead after Jaison Vales made a storming run on the left flank which saw Ranjan Singh put in a sliding tackle. The ball however landed in the path of Anthony Wolfe who found the back of the net in the 24th minute.

Pavlovic was denied twice by Churchill goalkeeper Thapa after the hour mark.

Wolfe tapped a Raju Yumnam cross inches wide of the left post in the 39th minute before he was brought down outside the box by Amrinder Singh. Pratap Singh gave the Pune custodian his marching orders as the visitors were also reduced to 10 men.

Pune FC also scored after going a man down when Riga placed the ball past Thapa after receiving the pass by Pavlovic in the injury time of the first half.

Pune custodian Arup Debnath made two saves to deny Raju Yumnam and Lenny Rodrigues in the initial minutes of the second half before Douhou Pierre rattled the woodwork with a piledriver from about 30 yards out in the 68th minute.

In the very next minute, Pavlovic put Mike Snoei's side in the lead for the first time in the match after being set up in the box by Anthony D'Souza.

Churchill striker Balwant Singh strolled past at least a couple of Pune FC defenders before calmly placing the ball towards Debnath's right to score the equaliser at the stroke of regulation time.

There was a late twist left in the tale as in the dying minutes of the game, Bineesh Balan slotted the ball into the back of the net in style after Lenny's cross to Wolfe was headed down to the Churchill substitute.

The result saw Pune FC stay in third position with 30 points from 19 matches, while Churchill Brothers go one up against Mohammedan Sporting (17) with 18 points from as many matches.

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