I-League: Churchill win, go top of the table
Brazilian midfielder Roberto Mendes da Silva opened the scoring with a seventh minute penalty and then Gabonese striker Henri Arnaud scored once in each half to take Churchill Brothers to the top of the table with 42 points, two ahead of East Bengal with a game in hand.
Churchill got off to an encouraging start when Steven Dias won a penalty in the seventh minute. Bineesh Balan’s wonderful ball in the danger zone was well received by Dias, but he was brought down in the box after contact with Air India defender M Pradeep, prompting the referee to point at the spot.
Churchill got their second in the 22nd minute when Lenny Rodrigues sent a delightful through ball that pierced the rival defence. Henri met the pass and easily rounded the the goalkeeper to score his first of the match.
Air India goalkeeper Sukhvinder Singh was at fault for Churchill’s third in the second half. A regular back pass should have been easily collected but instead the goalkeeper and Rahul Bheke looked at each other allowing Henri to tap inside an open goal.
Air India had plenty of chances to get something out of the game but the visitors lacked the sharpness upfront. Nigerian striker Henry Ezeh had two clear chances but his shots were aimed straight at goalkeeper Sandip Nandy.
Churchill next play ONGC in Delhi and have a chance to open up a five-point gap at the top of the table.