The Red Machines tested the Salgaocar custodian just once in the game and that only highlights how poor they were and it was, only thanks to the wastefulness of Salgaocar players that the scoreline remained 1-0.
Mariano Dias started with two of their foreign players, Hameed Adesope and Hugo Machado, in the Churchill starting eleven. Jaison Valles and Bineesh Balan started upfront for the defending champions.
Derrick Pereira meanwhile handed debuts to Claude Gnakpa and Darryl Duffy to lead their attack with Clifton Dias and Francis Fernandes supporting the two frontmen.
It took a while for the two sides to get going and the first opportunity coming only in the 11th minute when Francis played a wide to the left of Duffy, who returned the ball for the former whose short went above the bar.
Three minutes later, Churchill had a chance of their own from a cornerkick by Alesh Sawant. Adesope headed it back in play which saw Balan miss an attempt to volley despite being in an unmarked position.
Just before the half hour mark, Clifton’s pass released Duffy which saw Arindam Bhattacharya come off his line to block the striker’s attempt. He was called into action again to tip Chika Wali’s bicycle-kick over.
Dias' men survived a scare in the 37th minute as Gilbert Oliveira sent a pinpoint cross to Duffy, who was unmarked inside the box, but the latter failed to connect which allowed the Churchill fans to heave a sigh of relief.
Arindam was the guilty party for the opening goal when he spilled the ball off a Clifton Dias cross with Duffy in the right place to pounce on the remains and make it 1-0 for Salgaocar in the 41st minute.
Duffy missed several chances and could have scored a hat-trick had he been more clinical in front of goal. A cross from Francis from the right in front of the Churchill goalmouth saw the Scot head it embarrassingly wide.
The first real save by Salgaocar goalkeeper Karanjit Singh was in the 62nd minute from a low shot on target by Lenny Rodrigues.
Karma Tsewang should have really put the game to bed as he failed to tap in from handshaking distance after Gilbert did well to cross from the left with about 10 minutes left on the clock.
It was certainly a poor start from Churchill Brothers as they need to up their performance by several notches if they hope to retain their title. Salgaocar FC had a good game but Derrick would have been far more pleased had his attacking players taken the chances that came their way.
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