Vasco da Gama (Goa) [India], December 7 (ANI): Churchill Brothers FC Goa registered their first victory of the season, as they mounted a second-half comeback to defeat Mohammedan Sporting Club 2-1 at the Tilak Maidan on Tuesday.
Mohammedan Sporting took the lead early in the second half through SK Faiaz, but veteran defender Raju Gaikwad soon pulled the match into level terms minutes later, before Pedro 'Tana' Tanausu Placeres sealed the victory with just six minutes of regulation time left, as per an I League press release.
In a first half that left both camps hoping for more attacking intent, it was Churchill Brothers, who held the slight upper hand in the opening exchanges. Abdoulaye Sane was set through on the left a little ahead of the quarter-hour mark, and made a darting run into the Mohammedan box, but some excellent piece of defending kept the Frenchman at bay.
Kean Lewis tried his luck with a header at the other end for Mohammedan, 10 minutes later, but his shot went off target.
It was a half in which the defensive duties were performed at full tilt by both sides, as the playmakers struggled to create many chances - so much so, that neither side managed to register a shot on target in the first half.
Both sides came out with more impetus in the second half, but it was Mohammedan Sporting, who grabbed the lead 10 minutes into the restart through SK Faiaz. Faiaz was set through on goal as he made a clever run between the Churchill defensive lines. The 27-year-old controlled the ball on the volley and struck it with the outside of his boot to send the ball past the far post and into the net.
The Black and White Brigade's lead only lasted all of four minutes, however, as Churchill Brothers' old warhorse Raju Gaikwad leapt high above his marker to nod in a corner by Quan Gomes, pulling the home side level with 30 minutes of regulation time left on the clock.
There was no time to sit and admire the textbook header for Churchill, however, as Mohammedan soon pounced on the attack, and minutes later, almost came close to taking the lead again on two occasions. Safiul Rahaman sent in a perfect cross from the right towards striker Marcus Joseph, whose leaping header had goal written all over it, but the Red Machines' keeper Albino Gomes pulled off an airborne save for the cameras. Joseph was at it once again inside the Churchill box, when he headed Nikola Stojanovic's free-kick from the left. While goalkeeper Gomes was left rooted to his spot this time round, Joseph's header went inches wide.
With around 20 minutes left, Sane also had a couple of chances at the other end; Sharif Mohammad pinged in a cross towards the Frenchman from the left, as the former's header went whiskers wide. Just a minute later, Sane again managed to break free of the Mohammedan defence and with just the keeper to beat, sent his left-footed shot wide of the far post.
As the two defensive units seemed to excel against their respective opponents, it was some individual brilliance by the home side's Spanish forward Tana, who dribbled past two defenders, entered the Mohammedan box, and blasted it past keeper Zothanmawia.
Mohammedan hurled bodies forward in added time, looking for the equaliser, but it was Churchill on the counter, who had the best chance of the closing stages. Tana was played through behind the visitors' defence as he struck it on the volley from just inside the box, but the ball went wide, as the referee soon brought the match to an end. (ANI)