The Lebanese international scored a winner in the closing stages of the match to break the hearts of the assembled crowd at Shillong.
Churchill Brothers SC came back to winning ways following their defeat to East Bengal as Akram Moghrabi’s late goal saw them beat Shillong Lajong 1-0 at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium, Shillong in round seven of the I-League. The Goan side now have amassed 15 points from seven outings while Lajong have seven from as many games.
Shillong Lajong made two changes to their line-up from the disappointing defeat to Mumbai FC as they welcomed Minchol Son and Ebi Sukore with Subhash and Samson Ramengmawia being left out.
With Beto injured, Churchill Brothers handed Henri Antchouet a rare start while Saran Singh and Bineesh Balaan made it into the starting eleven at the expense of Denzil Franco and Tomba Singh.
The first chance befell the home side when a Jibon Singh cross from the left saw Gbeneme Friday’s header from inside the box go wide in the third minute.
Two minutes later, Churchill should have gone ahead had it not been for the alertness of goalkeeper Lalthuammawia Ralte who did well to come off his line and clear the danger as Henry had done well to get past his marker and be in a one-on-one situation.
Akram Moghrabi had a half chance midway through the first half but the bounce of the ball took him by surprise as he couldn’t control the cross from the right.
The best chance of the half came for Churchill when Moghrabi dribbled into the box from the left and pulled it back for Lenny Rodrigues whose shot from the edge of the box was well saved by the Lajong custodian.
Thereafter neither team created any openings as they resorted to long balls with the defenders launching it forward hoping for their strikers to hold it up and bring their midfielders into play – a ploy which failed for the two teams.
Referee D.Naik was at the centre of the controversy just before the half-time whistle as Sushil Singh, already on a yellow card for a raised foot against Raju Yumnam, handled the ball inside the opposition box and much to the surprise of the Goan side, the official gave a goal-kick. The decision certainly left the Churchill players furious who demanded that the Lajong striker should have been sent-off.
The second half started with the two teams making a few changes but to no avail as the game never really livened up. Sushil Singh got into the action once again but for the right reasons as his left footed shot went straight into the hands of goalkeeper Sandip Nandy.
In the 57th minute, Eugeneson Lyngdoh’s cross saw Sushil’s first time effort go wide after the latter did well to get behind the Churchill defence but wasted a brilliant opportunity. At the other end from a cross, Bineesh Balan’s scissor-kick went inches wide.
Moghrabi’s header came off the post from a Bineesh Balan cross from the left just after the hour mark as Churchill upped the ante.
However Lajong saw one of their efforts come of the post as well from a Eugeneson Lygndoh effort in the 70th minute.
Friday, who cut an anonymous figure upfront given that his team-mates preferred to sit back and absorb the pressure, had an opportunity on the break but he sent his effort wide with Nandy off his line.
Akram Moghrabi produced a moment of magic as he curled in an effort from outside the box with a peach of an effort which left the goalkeeper no chance whatsoever.
Lajong certainly need to ponder upon their attack as they kept giving the ball away regularly while Churchill will be buoyed with this dramatic win.
How do you stay up with football when on the move? With http://m.goal.com –your best source for mobile coverage of the beautiful game.