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I-League 2017-18 MATCH REPORT -- Recovery for Churchill continues with win against Lajong

Churchill Brothers secured their second straight win of the season as they beat Shillong Lajong 2-0 in their Hero I-League encounter held at the Tilak Maidan on Friday (January 19, 2018).

Goals from Osagie Monday (8‘) and PM Britto (76‘) helped the Red Machines secure a win that took their tally for the season to seven points.

Going into the game, Churchill Brothers introduced new foreign recruits Eldor Hussein and Dawda Ceesay into the team.

Richard Costa and YD Meetei were also given starts as coach Alfred Fernandes fielded an attacking line-up against Shillong Lajong.

And it didn’t take long for the home side to take the lead thanks to a defensive error by Shillong Lajong goalkeeper Phurba Tempa Lachenpa in the 8th minute.

Churchill centre-back Osagie Monday saw Tempa out of his line and launched a ball in his direction from his own half.

Tempa could not get back in time as he tried a weak attempt to palm the ball over the post.  But it simply hit his palm and bounced a few times and into the net.

The Lajong defence were all over the place and Churchill Brothers’ attackers were running riot as Kalu Ogba and Koffi Mechac came close.

But they suffered a setback when Kalu Ogba had to be taken off in the 22nd minute after he looked to have pulled up.

He was replaced by another new signing Bektur Talgat and the Kyrgyz Republic-based midfielder made an immediate impact. A string of passes saw Britto feed Bektur on the edge of the box who then laid it off for Wayne Vaz.

Vaz took a touch and drilled the ball goalwards but the keeper managed to tip it over the bar.

After being outplayed, Shillong started enjoying a few chances. Captain Samuel Lalmuanpuia took a free-kick from almost 30 yards out that didn’t go beyond the wall. They had a few half-chances.

But a dominant Churchill Brothers took their 1-0 lead into half-time.

Lajong started the second half more purposefully and had an early chance when their defender Laurence Doe tried to head in a corner towards the far post but missed by a few yards.

They had another opportunity in the 53rd minute when Lalrohlua launched a diagonal ball from the left to the unmarked Cliff Nongbri who took a touch and fired a shot across goal only to see it go wide.

But their best chance came when their striker Saihou Jagne hit the post from eight yards out.

Shillong looked a completely different team in the second half and took the game to Churchill.

They nearly equalised in the 71st minute when Lalrouhlua tried a thundering long-ranger from about 35 yards which brushed goalkeeper James Kithan’s fist and hit the top left corner of the woodwork.

Meanwhile, in their bid to find an equaliser, they were exposed at the back and Churchill Brothers punished them when a quick counter-attack saw PM Britto cut in from the right and line up a left foot curler.

Britto was allowed time and enough space on the ball as he unleashed a curler from outside the box that swerved past Tempa.

They led 2-0 in the 76th minute and cruised to victory as they continue to turn around their season.

Churchill Brothers FC Goa now close the gap with Chennai City FC who have amassed two points more having played as many matches more.

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