Fredsan Marshall’s strike in injury time at the end of the second half helped Churchill Brothers seal a 2-1 win over Real Kashmir FC in the I-League at the VYBK stadium in Kolkata on Friday.
Churchill took the lead in injury time of the first half through Luka Majcen (45+1 minutes) after which Lukman Adefemi (67 minutes) equalised for Real Kashmir. Just as it looked like the two teams may split two points between them, Marshall took a shot from a distance to win the match for Churchill.
Churchill Brothers were explosive in the first half, restricting Real Kashmir FC mostly in their own half, and could have led by at least three goals to nil. Real Kashmir failed to make even a single goal-scoring opportunity in the half.
Churchill could have taken the lead as early as the second minute when Clayvin Zuniga combined with Majcen to go clear onto goal. Zuniga, however, failed to make the most of his chance and slotted wide of the goal as the opposition goalkeeper rushed out to narrow the angle.
Zuniga came close again in the 20th minute when his shot from close range lacked power and was easily saved. With Churchill dominating possession and the tempo of the play, Real Kashmir relied on their solid defending and rarely moved forward through counters and long balls.
The attacking duo of Zuniga and Majcen upfront gradually gave the Snow Leopards defence a lot of trouble. In the 35th minute, Zuniga went on a solo run and dribbled past two challenges, only to force the goalkeeper into making a good save.
All the attacking momentum reaped dividends for Churchill Brothers right at the stroke of half-time. A long ball by Vinil Poojary that took a heavy deflection led Haroon Amiri to make an error as he failed to clear the ball. It fell comfortably for Majcen who was clear on goal and slotted it home.
If the first half belonged to Churchill, the second belonged to Real Kashmir. The Snow Leopards started quick off the block, spurred by conceding late in the first half. A Chesterpaul Lyngdoh goal was denied in the 54th minute courtesy of the referee flagging the play for an earlier foul.
In the 57th minute, Churchill goalkeeper Shilton Paul made a good save to deny Mason Robertson’s header from close range after the lanky Robertson was found by a well-timed cross by Pratesh Shirodkar. Five minutes later, Danish Farooq’s volley from inside the box was cleared by substitute Richard Costa as Real Kashmir pushed aggressively for the equalizer.
In the 67th minute, Adefemi produced a stunner to level the score. The Nigerian edged past Joseph Clemente and with his outside of the boot connected to a cross from the right flank. The volley went crashing into Shilton Paul’s net and the scoreline read 1-1.
However, Churchill substitute Marshall ended up returning the lead back to his team. In stoppage time, the midfielder ran on towards goal with the opposition defence backing out from tackling. He took a shot from a vdistance and the ball crashed into the bottom right corner of the goal.