After going a goal down and being reduced to ten men, Churchill Brothers came back to win the tie 1-2 and advance past the group stages.New Radiant were defeated by Churchill Brothers 1-2 on Wednesday evening at the Galolhu National Stadium, Male in their final Group E fixture of the AFC Cup.
Fasir put New Radiant ahead in the 40th minute before Naveen Kumar (64') and Anthony Wolfe (67') got on the scoresheet in the second half to secure the win for the visitors.
The hosts wasted the first opportunity of the game in the 6th minute when Fasir shot wide of the target from just eight yards out. Anthony Wolfe then put Churchill's first attempt wide from just outside the penalty area three minutes later.
A moment later, Ahmad Abdulla was nearly left red-faced. The New Radiant defender attempted to clear a cross but he got his header horribly wrong as he diverted the ball towards his own goal. Fortunately he was spared by the crossbar.
Fasir spurned another glorious chance for the home team in the 24th minute. With only Thapa to beat, the striker's effort evaded the Churchill custodian but also the goal.
In the very next minute, it was the glovesman at the other end who was called into action. From a corner, Ravanan was able to bring the ball down and get his shot away but Imran produced a good save.
Five minutes before the break New Radiant broke the deadlock. Umair put the Maldives side ahead from a well taken free-kick.
On the stroke of half-time, Satish delivered a dangerous ball into the box but Anthony was unfortunate to see his header sail just over the bar.
The second half began with a bit of controversy. Sanjay Balmuchu was sent off for a foul inside the box which was debatable. Umair sent the resultant penalty over the bar, thereby keeping Churchill in the contest.
Moments later, New Radiant lost their numerical advantage as Quartey was given his marching orders after an altercation with Wolfe.
Churchill then made their hosts pay for their missed opportunities as they rallied to grab an equalizer in the 64th minute. Naveen Kumar was on hand to find the back of the net and level the tie at 1-1.
Just three minutes later, the Indian outfit turned things around by scoring a second to go into the lead. Wolfe's brilliant finish put the Red Machines 1-2 ahead in what was a must-win encounter for them.
Ten minutes from time, second half substitute Saran Singh had a chance to extend Churchill's lead but blazed his shot over the bar after doing well to get into the box in the first place.
The visitors were able to hold on to the win which saw them finish second in their group with 10 points and join Persipura Jayapura in the next round while New Radiant finished bottom with just 3 points from 6 games.
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