In a match which the Goan side dominated from start to finish, it was only a lack of efficiency in front of goal that saw them only winning 3-1 against Home United...Churchill Brothers recorded a comfortable 3-1 comeback victory against Home United in a Group E encounter of the AFC Cup. Goals from Anthony Wolfe (16'), Raju Yumnam (26') and Balwant Singh (90+1') were enough for the home side while the only solitary goal was scored by Qiu Li for Home United in the 10th minute.
Mariano Dias elected to start with Cristian Lagos and Anthony Wolfe upfront with Dharmaraj Ravanan and Sanjay Balmuchu at the heart of the defense.
Home United meanwhile lined up in a customary 4-3-3 formation with the trio of Juma'at Jantan, Qiu Li and Ahmed Fahmie upfront. Precious Emuejeraye meanwhile was the strong man in defense.
The game started off at breakneck speed and Wolfe had two chances within the first ten minutes itself to put his team ahead. First it was his poacher's instinct that came into play where he seized on Izzdin Shafiq's hesitancy with the ball to overturn possession. His ensuing shot was somehow kept out by Shahril Jantan in goal. Next it was brilliant attacking play by Abdelhamid Shabana who teed Wolfe up with an inch perfect lofted through ball that cut open the away defense but the result was the same, Shahril pulling off another save.
In what was a classic counter attack, Home United were the first to open the scoring in spite of the Churchill dominance in the opening minutes. The break was initiated by Fazil Ayob in the tenth minute who played it onto Li. After exchanging a neat one-two with Fahmie, he smashed a first time shot from 20 yards giving Lalit Thapa little chance.
Churchill took just six minutes to equalise. It was Saran Singh's ball from the right flank that was headed in with power by Anthony Wolfe to restore parity. Wolfe thought he scored a brace in the 20th minute when he rose again to head in Saran Singh's corner, only to see his goal being disallowed for having fouled Precious in the box.
It was an absolute stunner from skipper Raju Yumnam that ultimately gave Churchill the lead. The left back moved up in the 26th minute and let loose a fierce curler that found the top corner of the net.
The Red Machines could have been further ahead just at half time when Precious made a hash of Satish Singh's ball into the box and Wolfe was inches away from pouncing on it, only to see Shahril come out and clear the danger.
Both coaches pushed for the win in the second half. While Bruno Castanheira was introduced by Home United, Mariano Dias went all out as he put in Balwant Singh for left back Raju.
The home side had a couple of glorious chances around the hour mark. Wolfe's cross was headed in well by Lagos only for Shahril to get a hand to it and Balwant's diving header going narrowly wide. Then it was a loose clearance which fell to Wolfe at the far post but his left footed volley was wide of the target.
It was a rare Home United chance in the 74th minute that was thwarted by Thapa. After Li had played in Fahmie, the striker's effort was saved from close range by a diving Thapa.
Saran Singh almost scored the spectacular when his dipping shot from 25 yards almost swerved into the net only for Shahril to get a last minute touch on it to tip it wide.
The game was put to bed in extra time when Balwant showed individual brilliance as he twisted and turned in the box and made space for himself, before calmly slotting it home past a hapless Shahril.
With the victory Churchill are closely behind Group leaders Persipura Jayapura who have seven points from three matches, with the Red Machines merely a point behind. Home United meanwhile have only a solitary point for their showing so far.
Both these teams meet each other in the reverse leg in the next round where Home United would be eager to overturn this defeat, in a match they were completely outplayed.
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.