Odafe guides Churchill to second title

Bagan go down 1-3 in final

Odafe scored in the 100th, 105th and 110th minutes after Mohun Bagan striker Chidi Edeh had put his side ahead in the 95th minute at the Ambedkar Stadium under floodlights. Churchill thus finished runners-up last year to Mahindra United. Carlos Alberto Pareira’s boys also kept a clean slate against Mohun Bagan in the new season after they had beaten the Kolkata giants 2-0 in the final of the IFA Shield.

Churchill were richer by Rs five lakhs for the title victory while Mohun Bagan pocketed Rs three lakhs. Contrary to the scoreline, the high voltage match could not produce a single goal in the regulation time but it turned out to be a goal scoring spree in extra time. There was little to differentiate between the two sides in the first half.

If Mohun Bagan had a slight adavantage in the first 20 minutes, Churchill had the edge in the remaining period of the opening 45 minutes. After resumption, Mohun Bagan made some threatening moves but it was Churchill who had a chance in the 58th minute. A Charan Rai shot off a pass by Odafe was right on target but it was blocked by goalkeeper Sangram Singh.

Taking cue from his opposite number, Churchill goalkeeper and India reserve Arindam Bhattacharya pulled off a brilliant save to his left from a Micky Fernandes free kick.
Five minutes into the extra time, Chidi rose over his marker to connect a free kick by Subhojit Majumdar, who replaced James Singh in the second half, past a hapless Churchill goalkeeper to the wild cheers of vociferious Mohun Bagan supporters.

But the same Mohun Bagan fans were stunned to silence five minutes later as Odafe shot past goalkeeper off a pass from his hardworking strike partner Reisangmi Vashum to restore parity. Odafe again came to the party, heading home after a goalmouth scramble to give Churchil a 2-1 lead. Odafe then completed his hat-trick in the 105th minute latching onto a Charan Rai pass and sending the ball to the left of the Mohun Bagan goalkepeer.

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