Abhijit Sarkar scored two goals in as many minutes (90+1', 90+3') to help Indian Arrows pull off a stunning 2-1 victory over Churchill Brothers at the Tilak Maidan Stadium in Goa on Saturday. Dawda Ceesay had scored a first-half opener before a brace from Sarkar in added time sealed three points for Arrows.
Luis Norton de Matos made two changes to his side as Nongdamba Naorem and Princeton Rebello came into the starting lineup. Match-winner Abhijit Sarkar did not start the game and Raheem Ali was omitted due to an injury.
Kalu Ogba came into the lineup in place of Bektur Talgat in what was the only change made by Alfred Fernandes to his team.
Naorem threated in the eighth minute when he picked up Tangri's pass. His curler forced a very good save from James Kithan who had to dive to his left to keep the ball out.
Despite the early threat from Arrows, it was Churchill who broke the deadlock through Dawda Ceesay. Nicholas Fernandes surged forwards with the ball and delivered an accurate cross into the box from the left flank which was easily nodded in by an unmarked Ceesay.
Churchill Brothers could have doubled their lead in the 27th minute if not for some astute defensive work by Indian Arrows. Kalu Ogba's overhead lob releases Abdoulaye Koffi on goal but his flick was parried away by goalkeeper Gill. Jitendra slid in with a well-timed block to prevent Koffi shot on the rebound from creeping into the net.
Gurung beat Sanjeev Stalin for pace and crossed into the path of Ceesay who took too long to release the ball to Nicholas Fernandes who was left unmarked inside the box. Missed chances would later hurt Churchill badly.
James Kithan had his heart in his mouth when he fumbled a long-range effort Deepak Tangri into the path of Rahul KP. But the Keralite's shot from the rebound flew wide of goal.
Just as Churchill Brothers thought they had sealed full points, Arrows struck a double blow in added time. Boris Singh beat Eldor for sheer pace on the right flank to get into the box and deliver a low cross for Abhijit Sarkar. The substitute slotted the ball past Kithan to bring his side level.
Two minutes later, Sarkar pounced on a defensive lapse by Eldor to surge forwards on goal and put the ball into the back of the net to secure an incredible late come-from-behind win for Indian Arrows over a shell-shocked Churchill Brothers.