The Red and Gold failed to create even a single opportunity of note on home turf as a Heny Antchouet brace and a late goal from Akram Moghrabi sealed the win for Dias' side.Churchill Brothers secured a pivotal 3-0 win over East Bengal in an I-League round 17 match played at the Salt Lake Stadium, Kolkata on Saturday.
Henry Antchouet gave the visitors the lead on 34 minutes and he doubled the advantage on the stroke of half-time. Substitute Akram Moghrabi than wrapped the poinys on 82 minutes.
These three points were vital for both sides and you could feel the nerves at the start of the game as both tried to feel each other out and the match turned into a midfield scrap with tackles flying in.
However, it was the visitors who looked the more threatening of the two teams in possession and the first chance duly came their way on seven minutes. Raju Yumnum crossed in from the left but Henry Antchouet’s header was weak, under pressure from two defenders. That early opportunity proved a sign of more menacing things to come though.
There was controversy in the 16th minute when after a Steven Dias corner from the right, the Churchill players furiously charged at the referee Santosh Kumar, claiming the ball had been handled in the area, though the offical was having none of it though.
After that the game settled back into its scrappy pattern and while there were no major chances created the Goans continued to have the better of the exchanges. They finally broke the deadlock on 34 minutes through Antchouet. Robin Singh conceded a needless free-kick and Dias delivered a great ball in, from which Bilal Najarin failed to head home from point blank rage and Abhijit Mondal made a miraculous save. However East Bengal failed to clear the lines and when the ball was sent back in, the striker, who was in an offside position, applied the finish.
East Bengal failed to muster any kind of a response to going behind and they were hit by a body blow when Antchouet made it 2-0 to Churchill in the second minute of first half injury time. Following a swift counter, another great ball came in from Dias and Antchouet was left with a virtual tap-in as East Bengal once again failed to deal with the danger. As a result, Mariano Dias’ men went into the break with a deserved two-goal lead having made the most of their limited chances.
Sadly, the second half was not much better for the hosts as Trevor Morgan’s half-time pep talk seemed to have had little effect on his players. With the two goals in the bag, Churchill Brothers were more than happy to let East Bengal have the ball up to the final third, preferring to hit them on the counter attack as before. The Red and Gold now had to make all the running and they were lacking in ideas up against a sturdy rearguard for the visitors, for whom Bilal Najarin was an absolute rock at the back.
With the home support getting ever more frustrated and the game meandering to an end, substitute Akram Moghrabi put Eat Bengal out of their misery by adding a third goal in the 82nd minute. Following another needless foul in midfield a pinpoint free-kick was played into the box and Moghrabi duly obliged with a glancing header into the corner, past a helpless home defence.
Worryingly for East Bengal, they struggled to put a string of passes together throughout the game and bar a few shots from distance were unable to create any presentable chances with Chidi Edeh cutting a rather lonely figure upfront.
With the result Churchill Brothers move onto 37 points from 15 games and move four points clear at the top of the table. Meanwhile, East Bengal remain stuck on 33 points having played two games more.
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