I-League 2017: Churchill Brothers 2-1 Bengaluru FC: Ten-man Blues beaten in Goa
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Albert Roca's men have now lost two on the trot as things turned ugly with John Johnson sparring with the opposition coach after being sent off...

Bengaluru FC slumped to a second consecutive defeat in the I-League 2016/17 while Churchill Brothers recorded their first win, thanks to a 2-1 result at the Tilak Maidan Ground in Goa on Friday evening.

Sunil Chhetri (22') [penalty] opened the scoring for Bengaluru while Anthony Wolfe (33') equalised for the Red Machines in the first half. Chesterpoul Lyngdoh (53') then grabbed what proved to be the match-winner. Later, things turned ugly with John Johnson getting sent off the in the 84th minute, which was before the defender had a physical altercation with the home team's assistant coach Alfred Fernandes.

Re-LIVE: Churchill Brothers 2-1 Bengaluru FC

Fernandes made two changes for this game as Brandon Fernandes and Seriton Fernandes were replaced by Surchandra Singh and Surabuddin Mollick.

Coming on the back of their first league defeat, Roby Norales was given his first start for the defending champions by Roca. Alwyn George and Nishu Kumar were also given a look in.

Churchill Brothers Bengaluru FC I-League 2017

Churchill Brothers Bengaluru FC I-League 2017

Norales had at least three clear chances at goal in the first half but it was Sunil Chhetri who scored a penalty to put Bengaluru FC in the lead. Norales was brought down by India international Fulganco Cardozo inside the box as CK Vineeth looked to lay it off for the Honduran in front of goal. Referee Ranjit Bakshi pointed to the spot and Chhetri did not make any mistake, as he brought up his first goal in 11 appearances across all competitions.

Shortly afterwards, Churchill's Kyrgyz midfielder Bektur Talgat took a hasty shot at goal after dispossessing Eugeneson Lyngdoh. It turned out to be an easy save for Amrinder Singh, who was otherwise hardly troubled in goal in the first half.

Just before the half-hour mark, Chhetri's cross from the left saw Norales outjump the defenders and head the ball wide. The goal seemed to have brought back some confidence for Chhetri, following several below par performances of late. 

The equaliser came in the 33rd minute when Chesterpoul Lyngdoh's ball for Anthony Wolfe saw the latter take advantage of a defensive lapse from John Johnson and turn the ball beyond Amrinder who was off his line. The first half ended with the score reading 1-1. 

Sunil Chhetri Churchill Brothers Bengaluru FC I-League 2017

The Blues  from the IT City were taken by surprise in the second half as young Chesterpoul Lyngdoh brought the 3000-strong crowd to their feet in the 53rd minute. Lyngdoh got on the end of a brilliant through ball from Wolfe and the Meghalaya-born winger proceeded to make space for himself and tapped it past Amrinder. John Johnson was unable to close him down and was, in part, culpable for the goal. 

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Both goalkeepers were called into action soon after as Vineeth's attempt off substitute Mandar Rao Dessai's pass was tipped over by Priyant Singh from close range and Amrinder dived to his left to block Surchandra Singh's shot from distance.

But what followed was an utter disgrace for Indian football at large. John Johnson was shown a direct red for a brazen tackle on Richard Costa. Churchill coach Alfred Fernandes and Johnson had a heated argument as the Englishman was making his way off the field.

Churchill Brothers Bengaluru FC I-League 2017

That was not the end as there were blows to the body from either side and almost all members on the pitch converged on the technical area. Bottles and objects were thrown from the stands with both coaches incensed. Thankfully, things calmed down after a long break.

Churchill proceeded to see off the game after the restart and grabbed their first win since their comeback to Indian top-flight football. Albert Roca would have plenty to ponder upon, not only the retrospective punishment John Johnson might attract but also to plot a way out from the sudden slump his team find themselves in. 

 

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