Churchill Brothers 2 (Balwant 74, Shabana 86)
Eagles FC 1 (Sakibo 83)
AIFF Media Team
COCHIN: Egyptian attacking midfielder Abdelhamid Shabana set up one and scored the winner as Churchill Brothers defeated Eagles FC 2-1 in a Group A encounter at the Jawaharlal Stadium here on Friday evening to become the first club to book their place in semi-finals of 35th Federation Cup.
After a goalless first half, Balwant Singh gave Churchill Brothers the lead from a Shabana freekick but Eagles equalised through Sakibo. However Shabana confirmed the Goan club’s berth in the last four with a sumptuous freekick after Eagles’ Charles Dzisah had been sent off for a second yellow.
The Red Machines were dominant in the first half as they created plenty of goal scoring opportunities but couldn’t find a way past Eagles’ young custodian Jagroop Singh. The former Arrows goalkeeper’s best save was that from Lenny Rodrigues’ 25-yard strike but he also made some important interventions.
Churchill Brothers were also very wasteful in front of goal with Sanjay Balmuchu wasting a free header from a corner while teenager Alesh Sawant failed to hit the target twice despite having a clear sight of goal.
Having been outplayed in the first half, Eagles were determined to start well after the interval and had a great opportunity to score when Sakibo got away from his marker but the Nigerian’s effort was off target.
Despite enjoying a lot of possession, Churchill’s best opportunities came from set-pieces with Balmuchu and Anthony Wolfe squandering gilt-edged chances while substitute Jaison Vales’ freekick was well held by Jagroop.
Churchill unsurprisingly broke the deadlock from a set-piece as Balwant brilliantly headed home from Shabana’s delivery. Eagles could have equalised through skipper Sushil Kumar but the former India Under-23 captain couldn’t find the back of the net from close range.
Sushil though played his part in the equaliser as his header took a deflection off Denzil Franco and fell kindly to Sakibo, who scored for the second straight game.
But Eagles’ joy was short-lived as Dzisah received his second booking for cynically bringing down Wolfe outside the box. From the resulting freekick Shabana scored past Jagroop to seal the points for Mariano Dias’ side.
Posted on : Friday January 17, 2014