Pailan Arrows went down by three goals to Churchill Brothers at the Salt Lake Stadium for a round 10 match of the I-League. A first half strike from Bineesh Balan in the 3rd minute was complemented by two second half strikes from skipper Roberto Mendes Silva in the 49th and 58th minute.
Churchill Brothers set up in their usual attacking 4-3-3 formation but with a significant change. Lebanese central defender, Bilal Najjarine missed out and was replaced by Gurtej Singh. That allowed Subhash Bhowmick to start with Gabonese striker, Henri Antchouet upfront. He was joined by Akram Moghrabi and Bineesh Balan.
Meanwhile, Pailan Arrows set up in their usual 4-4-1-1 formation with Alwyn George slightly behind Holicharan Narzary upfront. Dhanpal Ganesh started in place of Rajinder Kumar while Tirthankar Sarkar, the set piece specialist too got a start.
It was disaster for Arthur Papas from the word go, as out of nothing the away side surged into the lead, before both teams had settled into the match. Beto had played a through ball into the box, which found Bineesh Balan getting on the end of it from the left. Even though he was marked by Deepak Devrani, Balan’s shot struck the goalkeeper, Ravi Kumar who had come off his line and went in. Only about three minutes had been played thus far.
Churchill could have doubled their lead ten minutes before half time when Bineesh again darted down the right before lifting in a perfect ball to Henri whose powerful header went just wide. Skipper Beto had a delightful chance four minutes after the half hour mark, when his powerful drive from the left side, just outside the box struck the inside of the far post and rolled out.
Meanwhile, the home side failed to create much of a chance from open play and the most they could do was Tirthankar Sarkar’s free-kick from the right side, which had to be headed out on the goal line by an alert Beto.
Just four minutes into the half, Pailan again paid for failing to settle into the game, as they went two goals down in no time as Beto, unmarked in the box headed in a Bineesh Balan corner and the Pailan defense was found wanting.
There was controversy on the stroke of the half hour mark, as the referee had blown his whistle after a Churchill foul in the Arrows box, following a corner. Ravi Kumar however, perceiving that the play had stopped picked up the ball after he had already thrown it in the box. The referee read the situation differently and awarded an indirect free kick to Mariano Dias’ men inside the box right at the 6 yard line, which Beto converted with ease, giving them an unassailable lead.
There were hardly any worthwhile chances for either team after this, as Churchill looked to play for time while the Arrows looked disjointed after conceding three goals. With the win, Churchill ascend to second in the table, trailing Dempo by three points.