A first half brace by Henri Antchouet secures a vital three points for Subash Bhowmick's side in the first of the double legged tie against Mohun Bagan...
Henri Antchouet scored his 14th and 15th goals in the season, in the 19th and 34th minute respectively, for the away side, to get on par with team-mate Beto, who started on the bench against a Mohun Bagan side who were without the services of defender Ezechona Anyichie due to suspension.
Winning the title for East Bengal is now only a theoretical possibility as the Red and Gold need to win their three matches while Churchill will have to lose their remaining two matches.
The two teams had early chances which were wasted, as Jason Vales for the visitors and Denson Devadas for the home team failed to hit the target. However it was the Goan side who struck first through Henri Antchouet in the 19th minute.
Antchouet and Sunil Chhetri played a neat one-two, just outside the box before the latter put the Gabonese striker through, who bulldozed his way in between two Mohun Bagan defenders before slotting it to Shilton Paul's right with relative ease.
Churchill Brothers goalkeeper Sandip Nandy, who was later adjudged man of the match, then pulled off two great saves to deny a rampaging Odafa Okolie who on any other day, might have easily got his name on the scoresheet.
Mohun Bagan yet again showed their defensive frailty when they failed to deal with a speculative goal kick from Nandy and Antchouet powered past the defense to double the lead in the 34th minute with a cool finish past Shilton Paul yet again.
Balal Arezou could have made it 3-0 but wasted two opportunities on either side of the half. First, his header off a Denzil Franco cross was kept out by Shiton in the 42nd minute, and then in the 51st minute after Chhetri found him with a timely lay-off, the Afghan striker's shot sailed over the top right corner.
At the other end, Odafa had about three chances but combined with Nandy's heroics in goal as well as goalline clearances by Denzil Franco and Dharmaraj Ravanan, the Nigerian was thwarted at every opportunity.
Shilton Paul also ensured that the scoreline read the same at full time as the Mariners custodian was at his athletic best to dig out Chhetri's textbook header from creeping over the line.
Churchill Brothers are now eight points clear of East Bengal on top, with 51 points from 24 matches, while Mohun Bagan are just sauntering over the dreaded relegation zone, with United Sikkim losing too.
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