NEROCA FC ended Churchill Brothers' unbeaten run in the 2018-19 Hero I-League courtesy of a 2-1 victory at the Khuman Lampak Main Stadium in Imphal.
The victory hops NEROCA over Real Kashmir FC and Churchill Brothers to the second position in the points table, picking up 14 points from eight games. On the contrary, Churchill Brothers slipped one position to the third spot with 13 points from eight games.
The hosts couldn't have asked for a better start to the game as Katsumi Yusa smothered the ball past the rival goalkeeper via an acrobatic header in the 13th second. The Goan side did equalize in the 37th minute as Khalid Aucho nodded in Dawda Ceesay's free kick.
It looked as if both the teams would share the honors but, Katsumi Yusa spoiled the plans. The Japanese found the back of the net with another header after connecting Aryn Williams' deadly cross three minutes before regulation time got over.
It wouldn't be preposterous if we say NEROCA FC deserved to win the match. However, Churchill Brothers' futile plans aided them. Here are three reasons why Churchill Brothers lost to NEROCA FC.
#3 Willis Plaza neutralized by Eduardo Ferreira
Willis Plaza entered the match as the I-League's leading goalscorer. The Trinidad & Tobago international had scored seven goals from as many matches, including a hat-trick against Shillong Lajong.
Manuel Fraile knew the danger Willis Plaza possessed and entrusted Eduardo Ferreira to contain him. The Brazilian reposed his faith as he didn't give him any space to breathe.
Churchill Brothers' defenders and midfielders tried to find Willis by their long balls, but Eduardo neutralized the threat each and every time with his headed clearances.