Churchill Brothers FC Goa against Real Kashmir FC
The Redmachines held by the dream-runners from Kashmir
In a clash between two of the title contenders of this season’s I-League, Churchill Brothers and Real Kashmir have shared the spoil, thus allowing Chennai City FC to retain the top spot and keeping the title race even more interesting. A win would have put any of the teams to replace Chennai City FC to climb to the top spot.
Enthusiasts of Indian football kept an eye on the match, as both the teams were running through a superb stint. Before this match, Churchill Brothers won their last five consecutive matches after their back-to-back defeat against NEROCA FC and East Bengal, while Real Kashmir maintained an unbeaten streak for the last ten matches, which includes six away matches.
The Redmachines’ Romanian coach Petre Gigiu made three changes in the starting line-up with Khalid Aucho, Richard Costa and Wayne Vaz replacing Israil Gurung, Nickson Castanha and Nenad Novakovic. Real Kashmir's Scottish coach David Robertson forced to replace their Ivorian striker and the solitary goal scorer of the previous high intensity win against Chennai City FC Gnohere Krizo who was not available due to card issue. Ritwik Kumar Das has replaced him.
In the initial period, both the teams the game was not successful to build meaningful attacks. As the match progressed both the teams created a couple of chances, but could not succeed to open the goal mouth. The home side kept more ball possession and lead by the skipper Gambian Dawda Cessay kept the pressure. Churchill goalmachine Willis Plaza remained subdued in the first half.
After goalless first half, Churchill increased the pressure on the visitors’ defence. But visitors managed to take the lead through a long ranger from Farhan Gaine in the 55th minute, whose second attempt on target managed to defeat the scramble of legs in the Churchill defence and the goalkeeper.
The home side got right back into the match as their safe bait for goal scoring, Trinidadian striker Willis Plaza did what he can do the best. He scored a goal, shading his marker and trapping and shooting a powerful left-footer. Cessay’s corner kick thwarted by Kashmir defence, but the substitute Nicholas Fernandes managed to pass the ball to Plaza to do the rest. He has increased his tally to 16 goals in the league so far leading the top scorer chart.
The match ended in a draw, just like their earlier encounter in the league November last year. The only difference being a goal each scored by both the teams. Churchill Brothers and Real Kashmir missed the chance to climb up to the top spot and achieved 29 points each in 15 matches. Churchill Brothers placed in the second spot, just ahead of Kashmir by virtue of the goal difference.
Churchill Brothers: J. Kithan, N. Mohanraj, Hussein Eldor, R. Rodrigues, W. Vaz (N. Fernandes), D. Ceesay, K. Aucho, R. Costa, C. Lyngdoh (J. Martins), W. Plaza, A. Wolfe (I. Gurung).
Real Kashmir: B. Khan, A. Thapa, L. Enyinnaya, A. Katebe, D. Ravanan, B. Armand, F. Ganie, D. Bhat, R. Das (K. Qayoom), Surchandra Singh, M. Robertson.