Federation Cup: Churchill holds East Bengal; Aizawl mounts stunning comeback

I-League champion Aizwal FC banked on Laldanmaiwa Ralte's brace to score a come-from-behind 3-2 win over Chennai City FC in a Group A encounter of the Federation Cup at the Barabati Stadium here on Sunday.

Churchill proved to be no pushover and a found a late equaliser when Ghanefo Kromah scored from inside the penalty box after East Bengal 'keeper T.P Rehnesh failed to clear a low-cross.   -  East Bengal

I-League champion Aizwal FC banked on Laldanmaiwa Ralte's brace to score a come-from-behind 3-2 win over Chennai City FC in a Group A encounter of the Federation Cup at the Barabati Stadium here on Sunday.

East Bengal and Churchill Brothers played out a 1-1 draw in the tournament opener.

Chennai foxed Aizawl with its short passing and better possession. It created several chances and took lead in the 13th minute when Nandakumar sent in a fine cross from the right for Brazilian Charles D'Souza to shoot home.

The Chennai defenders closed the gaps to frustrate Aizwal forwards. Chennai scored again in the 39th minute, when Edwin Vanspaul angled it in over goalkeeper Albino Gomes from the right.

Showing better control in the second half, Aizawl reduced the margin through Mahmoud Al Amna's 53rd minute strike. He combined with Bayi Kamo to convert a counter-attack.

The scores were level within 10 minutes as Laldanmaiwa dived to head in a Jayesh Rane lob from left. Laldanmaiwa completed his brace through a spectacular 81st minute goal.

In the hot and humid afternoon, East Bengal and Churchill tussled in a goalless first half. Later, Churchill forwards, including Ansumana Kromah and Odisha lad Pankaj Sona, mounted pressure on the red-and-gold post.

East Bengal scored off a surprise raid by Anselme in the 66th minute. He ran solo for about 40 yards, got the better of three tough Churchill defenders and beat goalkeeper Naveen Kumar on the left.

Churchill drew parity when Sona crossed it from left, Brandon Fernanades pushed it while sliding and an unmarked Kromah caught the East Bengal defenders off guard.

The results:

Group A: East Bengal 1 (Anselme 66) drew with Churchill Brothers 1 (Kromah 80); Aizawl FC 3 (Amna 53, Laldanmaiwa 62 and 81) bt Chennai City FC 2 (Charles D'Souza 13, Vanspaul 39).

Monday's fixtures: Group B: Bengaluru FC vs Shillong Lajong FC (4 p.m.), Mohun Bagan vs DSK Shivajians (7 p.m.).

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