I-League: Churchill Brothers edges Indian Arrows 1-0

Churchill Brothers moved to fourth in the table, above East Bengal, as Arrows suffered its first loss in three games.

Willis Plaza scored the sole goal as Churchill Brothers defeated Indian Arrows 1-0.   -  Biswaranjan Rout

Churchill Brothers returned to winning ways as Willis Plaza scored the solitary goal in a hard-fought 1-0 triumph over Indian Arrows in an I-League fixture at the Kalinga Stadium in Bhubaneswar on Sunday.

The Goan side moved to fourth in the table, above East Bengal, as Arrows suffered its first loss in three games.

Churchill Brothers started the first half stronger, with the league’s top scorer Plaza testing goalkeeper Prabhsukhan Gill in the 4th minute. The Arrows goalie produced a fantastic diving save to keep the Trinidadian out.

Floyd Pinto’s Indian Arrows, that came into the match off the back of four points in two games and two clean sheets, created the next chance of the match. Boris Singh drove past his marker on the wings and fizzed in a cross, which was thwarted by Rowlinson Rodrigues.

The match turned into a tactical tussle in the middle of the park as Arrows looked to play its quick-passing, high-tempo style while Churchill aimed to slow down the pace of the encounter. Rahim Ali and Amarjit Singh had an effort each from long range but the young side failed to test the Churchill keeper.

However, just when it appeared that the first half would end goalless, Churchill scored the opening goal through its main marksman Plaza in the 40th minute. A long ball was played into the Arrows’ box and centre-back Jitendra Singh's mistimed clearance fell kindly to Plaza who made no mistake in slotting the ball home. The former East Bengal man was replaced by compatriot Anthony Wolfe at half-time due to an injury concern.

With the action restarting, the Arrows upped its urgency as it looked for the equaliser. Rahim Ali looked like a threat throughout the course of the encounter but the Churchill defence remained rock solid.

Arrows had its chance to level the scores in the 74th minute as Boris’ cross caused chaos in the Churchill defence. The loose ball fell to Anwar Ali inside the penalty area but his effort went just over the bar.