AIFF Media Team
Churchill Brothers 1 (Abdel Hamid Shabana – 5th, Balwant Singh – 17th)
United SC (Ranti Martins – 43rd)
COCHIN: Two off-side traps which ended miserably and an individual brilliance which will stay in memory for long!
In a match which was a tale of two contrasting halves, Churchill Brothers managed to hold onto their early lead to register a 2-1 victory over United SC as the Federation Cup kicked-off at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in Cochin. All the three goals came in the first half with Abdel Hamid Shabana and Balwant singh Scoring for Churchill while Ranti Martins reduced the margin for United.
All hadn’t settled down yet. But it hardly mattered for Churchill Brothers as they surged into the lead as early as the 5th minute. The lead enabled them to seize the momentum early.
After Egyptian recruit Shabana put Churchill in the lead in the 5th minute, Balwant doubled it in the 18th minute. Both the goals came after Churchill Brothers’ beat the off-side trap to slot it home.
It could have been worse for United had not Goalkepeer Jayanta Paul managed to palm Balwant in the 15th minute. On all three occasions, Churchill had sneaked in beating the off-side trap.
Churchill had possession for most of the first-half. With United not being able to penetrate much, individual brilliance stayed the sole option for Eelco Schattorie’s men. It eventually came in the 43rd minute when Ranti Martins chested down Eric Brown’s floater, sidestepped Ravanan Dharmaraj and placed it past a diving Churchill Goalkeeper Lalit Thapa, as United went into the interval much rejuvenated.
Post interval, United came back with much purpose and stayed the more dominating side. They preferred to play it in the gaps with Lalkamal Bhowmick and Eric Brown trying to essay it for CK Vineeth and Ranti upfront.
However, an off-colour Vineeth was replaced by Rajinder Kumar in the 62nd minute. Rajinder could have scored from his first touch but his left-footer from top of the goal-area went straight to Thapa.
Thereafter, United pressed hard and had a plethora of chances but failed to break the deadlock. In the 67th minute, Eric Brown’s curler from just outside the 18-yard box, failed to beat the Churchill Wall. Thapa’s reflexes further denied United when he palmed off Eric’s scorcher in the 82nd minute. The resultant corner, however, went abegging.
In the next minute, Ranti did leap higher than all to meet Eric’s centre but Ravanan came in the way to further frustrate United. It was followed by another of Ranti’s headers going over following Dipak Mondal’s centre. The equaliser just didn’t come for United.
Posted on : Tuesday January 14, 2014