I-League table toppers Minerva Punjab's unbeaten five-match run came to an end when Churchill Brothers beat them 2-1 in a closely-contested match here on Friday. Churchill scored through Mechac Koffi (16th) and Wayne Vaz (45th). Kassim Aidara scored the lone goal for Minerva in the 57th minute
Vasco (Goa): I-League table toppers Minerva Punjab's unbeaten five-match run came to an end when Churchill Brothers beat them 2-1 in a closely-contested match here on Friday. Churchill scored through Mechac Koffi (16th) and Wayne Vaz (45th). Kassim Aidara scored the lone goal for Minerva in the 57th minute.
Minerva Punjab created lot of chances in the second half but their Bhutanese winger Chencho Gyeltshen, who troubled the home team defence with his menacing run down the flank, wasted a penalty in the 61st minute which proved costly for the visiting side.
The win took Churchill Brothers to seventh place with 13 points from 11 matches. Despite the loss, Minerva Punjab remained on top of the table with 26 points from 12 matches. Churchill, who lot to Neroca FC at home in their last match, were today lucky for not conceding another goal after defender Osagie Monday brought down William Opoku inside the box with two-footed sliding tackle but the referee overlooked the incident.
The home team took the lead in 16th minute from a penalty after coming close to scoring on two occasions. Minerva defender Sukhdev Singh needlessly pulled down Dawda Ceesay inside the box and referee Akash Jackson Routh had no hesitation in awarding the penalty which Koffi converted.
Minerva regrouped and slowly got into their grooves as they made inroads from the flank and forced Churchill keeper James Kithan to make a couple of saves. Chencho Gyeltshen once forced keeper James to punch the ball out to safety from a free kick and another try was blocked by rival defender. With Minerva doing most of the attacking in search of the equaliser, Churchill came up a counter move and Dawda Ceesay laid a pass to Wayne Vaz whose harmless cross in the dying seconds of the first half dipped in and found the far corner of the net with keeper caught unawares to give the home team a 2-0 lead at half time.
After the break, the visitors showed a lot of urgency in their attack as they made a series of moves and earned a free-kick in the 57th minute. Chencho Gyeltshen floated the ball into the Churchill box for Kassim Aidara who shot home from close range. The goal spurred Minerva as they mounted pressure on Churchill in search of the equaliser. They earned a penalty in the 61st minute after Wayne Vaz handled the ball inside the box off Kamalpreet Singh chip.
But Chencho Gyeltshen shot the penalty wide to the joy of the home team as they garnered full points to move to seventh place. Minerva went all out in search of the equaliser and that left gaps at the defence of the visiting side and Churchill's Koffi had an open chance to score his second goal but he drove the ball wide out of target.