Churchill Brothers Are IFA Shield Champions

I-League champions Churchill Brothers have become the first Goan club to win the IFA Shield after beating Kolkata giants Mohun Bagan 2-0 in the 114th final at the Salt Lake Stadium, Kolkata thanks to first half goals from Reisangmi Vashum and Odafa Okolie.
Mohun Bagan 0-2 Churchill Brothers  

First Half  

The first chance to break the deadlock came for Mohun Bagan in the second minute. Marcos’s free kick was poorly cleared by the Churchill defense. The ball felf for James Singh, who was unlucky to hit the cross bar.

Three minutes later Bagan got a corner which was taken by Marcos but was easily collected by Arindam Bhattacharya.  

Churchill immediately responded with a counter attack. Naoba sent a cross for Paite in the penalty area. However, Paite’s couldn’t reach the ball.   

Again in the 14th minute Churchill midfielder Ogba Kalu got past two Bagan players in the midfield and sent a through ball for Odafa. But the pass was a little too heavy and was easily collected by Bagan keeper Shilton Paul.  

A few minutes later Churchill captain Odafa sent a beautiful through ball for Paite down the left flank. Paite got past one defender and crossed the ball inside the penalty area. Jaison Vales got the ball but could not make the most of it as his first touch made it easy for Rakesh Masih to clear it from danger.  

In the 17th minute Churchill got an easy chance to open the scoring. Paite’s ball to Vashum in the penalty area was wasted as he took a careless shot which was easily collected by Shilton.  

Ten minutes before the break Bagan came close through a Micky Fernandez free kick from 20 yards. He did it well to get it past the wall but it was saved by Arindam Bhattacharya.  

The Churchill defence did not deal with the resulting corner properly which gave Kulothungan the chance to get a cross into the box. Young striker Suroj Mondal found himself unmarked but couldn’t direct his header goalwards.  

Churchill opened the scoring in the 41st minute when Odafa got past two defenders in the penalty area. Deepak Mondal’s challenge on Odafa diverted the ball towards Vashum who found the back of the net with a powerful shot which left Shilton Paul helpless.  

During the first half injury time Nigerian goal machine Odafa Okolie scored the second. Rowilson sent a ball for Odafa who went past two defenders. Then he rounded Shilton Paul and slotted the ball into the empty net.  

Churchill went into the halftime break with a crucial two goal advantage.  

Second Half  

The second half of the match saw some disorganized football. Churchill played defensively while Mohan Bagan didn’t really get their passing going and wasted the few chances they got.  

Karim Bencherifa made two changes with Subha and Santa Kumar replacing Suroj and Kolouthangan respectively. The first ten minutes of the second half saw some clumsy football as the ball mostly remained in the mid field area.  

The first real attack of the second half came in the 61st minute which forced a goal line clearance from Indian international defender Gouramangi Singh. Masih’s lob was nodded towards goal by James Singh who had a great opportunity to score as Churchill keeper Arindam was well out of his goal. However, Gouramangi’s clearance preserved Churchill’s two goal lead.  

Churchill themselves had an attack a few minutes later when Odafa Okolie sent a teasing cross into the box which was not dealt with by Surkumar Singh. The ball fell kindly for Paite but the midfielder failed to hit the target.  

A minute later Snehashish sent in a lovely cross for Marcos inside the penalty area but the Brazilian couldn’t connect.  

In the 67th minute when Churchill was making a change, Robert was showing a stone to the referee which was probably thrown by one of the spectators present in the stadium. However there was no delay as the match carried on.  

The remaining minutes saw Mohan Bagan playing some attacking football and creating some chances but their forwards failed to execute them. In the end Churchill held on for a historic triumph.  

Goalscorers: Reisangmi Vashum 41’, Odafa Okolie 45+1’

Arunava Nag