Churchill Brothers got the better of NEROCA to stay in the hunt for I-League title on Saturday, 19th January. They defeated the Imphal-based side by 2-1 at the Tilak Maidan in Vasco, what was a memorable comeback from the Goan side.
The match was crucial for both teams. Both teams wanted to emulate each other to challenge table toppers Chennai City. In the end, it was Willis Plaza who scored two goals within six minutes to bring all the points from the match.
Churchill, who have the same number of points with Real Kashmir, climbed on the second position of the table due to a better goal difference. They now have 25 points from 13 matches. NEROCA are on fifth position with 21 points from as many matches.
Though Churchill dominated the match, it was NEROCA who got the lead against the run of play, thanks to a deflection of Varney Kallon from Malem Meitei’s free-kick. It was thought they would win the match, until Plaza produced some magical moments in the end.
Let us look the three reasons behind Churchill’s win:
#3 Churchill’s attacking mentality ultimately paid off
From the very first minute, Churchill Brothers took the control of the game. They were just not willing to let the ball go off their feet. They kept the maximum possession and NEROCA found it hard to steal the ball.
Churchill coach Peter Gigiu opted for an attacking strategy and the likes of Dawda Ceesay, Anthony Wolff and Willis Plaza were just obliging the coach’s instructions. Churchill had the upper hand for most of the time.
Ceesay, Plaza and Wolff all of them nearly scored. But Lalit Thapa’s brilliant pair of hands made their job tougher. The NERCOA defence was also resolute and not giving any chance to their opponents. Ceesay tried to test Thapa with some eye-catching shots.
Churchill tried to use the wing, ran down the middle, tried to shot from distance but nothing was going inside the net. Wolff did not have a good day in office. He missed a couple of sitters and were seen struggling with the possession. But Churchill didn’t lose their patience though.
Coach Gigiu was constantly telling his players from the touchline to go up and use the gap as much as possible. Churchill’s resilience finally paid off in the final five minutes and the two goals not only changed the result of the game but also Churchill fresh air to breathe as they kept hunting leaders Chennai City.