THE BLOG BY CPD FOOTBALL | The World of Indian football and beyond by Chris Punnakkattu Daniel

Churchill Brothers keep Round of 16 hopes alive

AFC Cup: Churchill Brothers SC v Persipura Jayapura

AFC Cup: Churchill Brothers SC v Persipura Jayapura

Churchill Brothers SC kept their hopes of qualifying for the AFC Cup 2014 Round of 16 alive, by playing out a 1-1 draw with Persipura Jayapura of Indonesia at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium, Goa. Persipura though qualified as they have topped the table with eleven points with one game in hand. Churchill Brothers is on equal points, with Home United of Singapore. Both the teams have seven points.

First half started with Persipura dominating the possession and Churchill Brothers doing most of the running, but the Indonesian outfit failed to convert their midfield domination with killer passes to the forwards in the final third. So it was Churchill Brothers who made a serious attempt on goal before Pesipura , 16 minutes saw Balwant  Singh with a left footed shot from inside the box, which went wide of the Persipura goal. Then again in the 23rd minute ,a good diving header by Anthony Wolfe off a Joshua Robello cross from the right, was given off side, though the Persipura goalkeeper, Yoo Jae Hoon had saved the ball with some difficulty.

Then came the visitors chance to score in the 27th minute but Churchill Goalkeeper, Lalit Thapa made a  wonderful save, to deny Persipura a certain lead. Boaz Solossa had taken a powerful close range shot from the right. The 33rd minute saw Balwant  find some space for himself and should have scored but he scuffed his left footed shot, which went straight to the goal keeper.  Final action of the first half was in the 40th minute when Jaison Vales missed a certain goal when he skied his shot in over the Persipura bar. Anthony Wolfe had given that well measured  cross from the right.

Churchill Brothers started to play a much better game than in the first half and were first to launch an attack in the second half but both Abdel Hamid Shabana and Lenny Rogrigues wasted their chances. Shabana hit his free kick straight to the Persipura goalkeeper around 68th minute  while Lenny blasted his long range shot way over the post in the 70th minute. Then in the 76th minute Persipura Jayapura took the lead through their forward Boaz Solossa when he scored from close range after getting a cross from the right. Churchill Brothers though were not cowed down by the shock 1-0 lead taken by Persipura,  rather they came back strongly and scored in the 83th minute. It was Balwant Singh who scored for the Red Machines when he found himself at the end of a through ball from Anthony Wolfe. He was one and one with the Persipura goalkeeper, his first attempt was saved but he converted the rebound to level the match 1-1.In the final last minutes of the match Balwant Singh again had an opportunity to score by his tired legs could not get past a Persipura defender.

Churchill Brothers Goa Head Coach, Mariano Dias was happy with the performance of his team.
“It was a good match, we did have many chances that we should have converted. However Iam very pleased with the effort put in by the boys.”

Persipura Jayapura Head Coach, Tiago Jacksen said “ It wasn’t the best football that we played. The boys are tired due to the amount of travelling. However Iam very happy that we have qualified with a game to spare. I thank my players for the performance they have put in”.

Churchill Brothers take on New Radiant in the Maldives on April 23.