Churchill Brothers broke their winning duck in the Airtel I-League with a fascinating and dramatic last-minute 3-2 victory against Sporting Clube de Goa in the eleventh round Airtel I-League clash at Duler Stadium, Goa, on Thursday.
Leading 2-1 till about two minutes to go for the final whistle, Churchill seemed down and out when Sporting Clube got the equalizer. But there was a late, late twist in the tale when substitute Jaison Vales, who had taken the field just a minute earlier, grabbed a dramatic winning goal with virtually the last kick of the game.
The defending champions had four draws and five losses going into Thursday’s game and can now breathe a little easy.
New Egyptian signing Abdelhamid Shabana opened the account for Churchill in the second minute itself. But Sporting struck back four minutes later through Boima Karpeh. Balwant Singh put Churchill ahead for the second time in the 37th minute, and when Pratesh Shirodkar found the equalizer with two minutes on the clock, it looked like the match was over.
Until Jaison Vales scored the winner in the last minute of added time.
Churchill started with all three new foreign players which included Syrian duo of Yaser Shahen (striker) and Naser Al Sebai (defender), besides Egyptian midfielder Abdelhamid Shabana.
Shabana was the hero right from the word go as he drew first blood in the second minute itself. Balwant found the Egyptian midfielder with an angular pass and Shabana did well to drive the ball home.
Sporting struck back four minutes later, this time from an almost identical goal. Keenan Almeida crossed from the right and Boima settled it with an unexpected volley.
Churchill were playing the ball around well and also launching attacks. They tasted success for the second time in the 37th minute when Yasser Shahen laid the ball for Balwant to beat Sporting goalkeeper Ravi Kumar.
In the second session, Sporting Clube had several chances to claw their way back into the game but it was not until late in the game that Oscar Bruzon’s side were successful. It was a defence-splitting ball from Mauvin Borges which found Pratesh Shirodkar, who did well to beat Arindam Bhattacharya.
Just when it seemed like Churchill would be left disappointed again, Vales turned the tables on the rivals with a goal on the counter, sparking wide celebrations in the Churchill camp.
(Report & Picture courtesy AIFF Media)