The Kolkata outfit made an inspiring comeback after being two goals down to win three points from the game...
United Sports Club edged out Churchill Brothers 3-2 at the Kalyani Stadium, Kolkata in a round eight match of the I-League. The Goan outfit scored two goals through Balwant Singh (25' and 47') which put them in a commanding position. However CK Vineeth (55') pulled one back before Ranti Martins responded to Eelco Schattorie's call for him to start scoring in some style with a couple of goals (78' and 88') to seal the win. Churchill were reduced to ten-men when Denzil Franco was given his marching orders for a stamp on Vineeth.
Eelco Schattorie made a number of changes to the side which lost to Salgaocar FC. Ishan Debnath was handed his first start between the sticks with Sangram Mukherjee picking up an injury. Belo Rasaq returned to the fold after an one-game suspension to replace Sukhen Dey. CK Vineeth and Baldeep Singh were also included in the first eleven.
On the other hand, Churchill Brothers’ technical director Subhash Bhowmick chose to start with the same side which drew with Shillong Lajong.
It was the home side who saw more of the ball from the start with Eric Brown and Souvik Chakrabarty being the lynchpins in the midfield.
The first chance befell Vineeth as he embarked on a great run down the right flank and despite having an entire far post to aim at, his shot went inches wide in the seventh minute.
The build-up play by the Purple bridgade was exceptional with short one-touch passing. Ranti Martins had a shy on goal but Arindam Bhattacharya in goal wasn’t troubled.
Appeals for a penalty was turned down in the 21st minute as Vineeth goes into one-on-one situation with Bhattacharya alleged to have pulled him down.
Four minutes later, it was the visitors who struck through Balwant Singh. After United Sports Club’s corner was cleared by Churchill rearguard, Alesh Sawant went on a run down the left wing, evading as many as three challenges to provide a cross for Balwant to apply the finishing touch.
Following the goal, the Red Machines got their foot into the game with Micky Fernandes and Lenny Rodrigues passing the ball around well in the middle of the park.
Thereafter it became a drab encounter with neither side taking control of the proceedings with misspasses being in vogue.
Schattorie was the first to blink as he brought on Jayanta Sen for Baldeep Singh and the change could have paid dividends instantly. After getting into a good position with only the goalkeeper to beat, he took the worst possible option and sent the ball straight into Bhattacharya’s hands.
Two minutes into the second half and Balwant struck his second of the game. Souvik gave away the ball in the midfield and Balwant easily got past Anupam Sarkar to slot the ball home.
However the home side pulled one back through Vineeth who made amends for his earlier misses. Eric Brown’s flag-kick saw Vineeth head home with Bhattacharya having no chance to stop.
Schattorie threw in Biswajit Biswas to add further attacking impetus to his side.
Churchill could have added to the score line when Denzil Franco got into a dangerous position but didn’t have options to pick from and his eventual shot failed to test Debnath in goal.
Biswajit got into one-on-one position with Bhattacharya with the latter doing enough to deny the youngster a chance to equalize after Vineeth had played him through.
In the 78th minute, Martins scored the equalizer with a left footed attempt from a melee after Rasaq’s shot was blocked by Bhattacharya.
Thereafter it was just one way traffic as the home side went in search for the winner which came ten minutes later. Jayanta’s corner-kick saw Martins head home to send the assembled fans into celebration.
To make matters worse for Churchill, Denzil was sent-off for a stamp on Vineeth. United Sports Club held on for a victory while defending champions' poor run of form continued.
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