I-League 2017: Churchill Brothers vs East Bengal, 5 Talking Points

Churchill's latest signing Mechac Koffi did the trick.
Churchill's latest signing Mechac Koffi did the trick.
Srijon Choudhury

League leaders East Bengal travelled to Goa to face off against the Red Machines on Monday. East Bengal had amassed 17 points from 8 games and were top of the table before the tie, Churchill Brothers were yet to open their account from 5games and were rock bottom in the league standings.

East Bengal star striker Wills Plaza still wasn’t fully fit as he found himself on the substitute bench, whereas Churchill’s new signing Mechac Koffi started the game.

Despite the disparity though, Churchill Brothers managed to get their first point of the season, as new signing Koffi's second-half goal cancelled out Joby Justin's first-half strike.

On that note, let's take a look at how the players performed in the game.

Churchill play three of their panic-buys a day after singing them

Only a day before, Churchill confirmed the signing of seven new faces which included three Indians and four foreigners. While three of the four foreigners are yet to arrive in India, Churchill fielded three of the recently acquired players.

Mechac Koffi, the star striker for Churchill was fielded even though he arrived in Goa just three days ago and clearly looked unfit. Wayne Vaz and Jovel Martins both of whom were acquired from ISL teams FC Pune City and FC Goa respectively were also fielded.

With the Panic buys being fielded it is evident that Churchill were very eager to garner their first points of the I-League. They did have an effect as Koffi scored a screamer to level the scores and the likes of Vaz and Martins did a great job to keep the likes of Katsumi and Danmawia quiet.

Life after Mykola Shevchenko and the 18-day break for Churchill Brothers

Mykola Shevchenko
Mykola Shevchenko

Churchill last played on the 19th of December against Chennai City FC, where they lost 2-0. After that, they have had an 18-day break, something which is rare in the I-League, where their opponents were playing their 3rd game in 10 days.

The break and change in management has had an effect on the Churchill Brothers as they looked to play a more pressing game in the midfield and use the wings more often. They also played a very physical game and were lucky to escape without being booked on a number of occasions.

The 18 days break and with the onset of New Year has been a big boost for Churchill as they have utilised this period to get their house in order of sorts and have looked a bit more organised compared to their previous games, but are far from being convincing. But opening their points tally today is a step in the right direction.

Churchill will thank the heavens for giving them the much-required break to get their house in order and garner their first points of the league.

East Bengal and their dilemma of conceding late goals

East Bengal have been conceding a lot of late goals this season.
East Bengal have been conceding a lot of late goals this season.

It started from the first game against Aizawl where they gave up a commanding 2-0 lead to draw the game 2-2. It happened again in the Neroca game, when they gave up a 1-0 lead to draw 1-1.

The Red and Golds were leading 1-0 on Monday as well, and were playing a better game as their midfielders were passing the ball around for fun, but their attackers failed to convert the chances that came their way, and Churchill scored a brilliant goal against the run of play to level the scores and deny East Bengal the victory.

If East Bengal keep drawing games that they ought to win then they will be in troubled waters with regards to being champions of the league come late March.

Confusion off the pitch hampering Churchill’s performance?

With so much transfer activity going on, the Churchill Brothers players may have been left in a confused state.
With so much transfer activity going on, the Churchill Brothers players may have been left in a confused state.

Ever since Mykola Shevchenko handed in his resignation there was a confusion in the dressing room regarding who will be the head coach. Even though assistant coach Alfred Fernandes has been in charge of the team, he still is an assistant coach, and there is no word regarding the head coach.

On Sunday, a leading newspaper in the country reported that Churchill had singed 4new foreigners which automatically put the existing foreigners into jeopardy as their spots and contracts were in threat of being cancelled. All this confusion regarding the team and team set up, have a mental effect of the players which is hampering their performances on the pitch.

East Bengal good, but far from their best

East Bengal have been far from being on top form.
East Bengal have been far from being on top form.

East Bengal are in search of their maiden I-League title and haven’t won the national league for 14 years. Yet they are one of the most successful teams in the league’s history. East Bengal are one of the biggest title contenders this season and are currently at the top of the table, but they need to get much better if they are to win the title this season.

The Red and Golds midfield has been very good this season, but their attack has been a cause for concern, missing a host of chances throughout the season. Meanwhile, they have been far from their best in defence, as they have been leaking goals in almost every game, and that too, at crucial intervals of the match.

East Bengal's overall game too has been good, but it needs to get better and they are far from their best.

Edited by Soumo Ghosh


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