I-League: Late goal hands Churchill Brothers 1-0 win over Punjab FC

The Goan side dominated the match both in terms of possession and chances created and the Punjab FC defence was under constant threat.

Clayvin Zuniga celebrates after scoring for Churchill Brothers during their I-League clash against Punjab FC.   -  TWITTER

Clayvin Zuniga's 85th-minute strike hander Churchill Brothers a 1-0 win over Punjab FC in an I-League match in Kolkata on Tuesday.

The Goan side dominated the match both in terms of possession and chances created and the Punjab FC defence was under constant threat.

In the fourth minute, Punjab FC was handed a golden opportunity when forward Chencho Gyeltshen burst forward and rounded the onrushing goalkeeper. But the Bhutanese forward’s strike was cleared from the goal-line by Suresh Meetei.

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Four minutes later, Luka Majcen was put through to goal off a fine cross from the right flank. With only the opposition custodian to beat, Majcen shot over the bar and Punjab FC survived a scare.

Churchill Brothers started the second half on a strong note. In the 51st minute, Bryce Miranda cut inside from the right flank into the box and he tried to find the far left corner of the goal but his outside of the boot shot went wide of the goalpost.

For Punjab FC, chances were becoming rare and their midfield looked unable to keep possession. Despite that, Churchill could not open the Punjab outfit’s defences.

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It was kept at bay right until the 85th minute when the Red Machines finally got the goal they were looking for.

The Honduran international Zuniga was found inside the box with a deft cross from the right flank and he applied a sublime touch to the ball and released a powerful shot which crashed into the back of the net.

With its second win of the season, Churchill remained on top with seven points from three matches.

-Mohammedan SC stages remarkable comeback, holds TRAU FC to 2-2 draw-

Mohammedan SC came from two goals down to hold TRAU FC to a 2-2 draw at the Kalyani Municipal Stadium on Tuesday.

Goals by Komron Tursunov in the second minute and Helder Lobato in first half stoppage time were cancelled out by headers from Nikhil Kadam and Hira Mondal in the 58th and 68th minutes respectively, as both the teams shared points at the end of the 90 minutes.

TRAU was given the chance to go ahead in the very first minute itself after Komron Tursunov's header went inches over the bar.

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Sixty seconds later, Komron slotted home from close range, latching on to a rebound after a defensive error handed TRAU possession of the ball just outside the opposition's penalty box.

It could have been three goals for TRAU in under 15 minutes had the Manipur outfit taken its chances.

In the 11th minute, another howler in the defence gave Komron the ball. With only the opposition custodian to beat, the Tajik forward shot wide of the goal.

The early setback rattled Mohammedan SC and though the Kolkata-based club dominated possession, their lacklustre performance in the final third meant that TRAU FC's goalkeeper was forced to make easy saves, coming mostly from outside the box.

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On the left wing for the Black Panthers, Nikhil Kadam proved to be a live-wire. His agile dribbling and speed caught the TRAU defenders off guard but that was not enough to find the back of the net. In the 41st minute, his shot from distance was saved easily by the TRAU custodian.

In added time at the end of the first half, TRAU was given a corner and Komron Tursunov's delivery was thumped home by an unmarked Helder Lobato, who doubled the Manipur side's lead going into half-time.

Trailing 0-2, the Kolkata giants committed bodies in attack to salvage at least a point from the game. In the 56th minute, Suraj Rawat tried to play a through-ball to Gourav Mukhi, but TRAU's defence was present to see off the danger.

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In the 58th minute, a corner for Mohammedan created havoc in the TRAU defence. With no defender able to clear the ball, the chance fell to Nikhil Kadam, whose quick reactions saw him produce a diving header to slot the ball home as the Black Panthers reduced their deficit.

With momentum on its side, it was only a matter of time before Mohammedan pounced for the equaliser. In the 68th minute, that came after Sarkar found Hira Mondal on the far post with a looping cross and the defender headed home to put the game back to level pegging.

Though the Black Panthers searched for the goal that would give them the lead, TRAU bolstered its defence and thwarted balls long at the sight of danger. With neither team able to create a clear goal-scoring opportunity the game finished as it started, all square — as both the teams pocketed a point each