Churchill scrape through

Churchill Brothers scraped past United SC in the inaugural match of the 35th Federation Cup football tournament here on Tuesday.

All the three goals came in the first half with Abdel Hamid Shabana (5th minute) and Balwant Singh (17th) scoring for Churchill while Ranti Martins (43rd) reduced the margin for United in the Group A match at the the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium.

In another match at Manjeri, the second venue, Dempo Sports Club came back from a goal down to beat Bhawanipore FC 2-1 at the MDSC Stadium. Churchill Brothers, who were struggling badly in the season so far, surged into the lead as early as the fifth minute through Egyptian recruit Shabana.

The lead helped them seize the momentum early. Balwant doubled th lead in the 18th minute. It could have been worse for United had not goalkepeer Jayanta Paul managed to palm Balwant in the 15th minute. On all three occasions, Churchill had sneaked in beating the off-side trap.

United’s goal came in the 43rd minute when Ranti Martins chested down Eric Brown’s floater, sidestepped Ravanan Dharmaraj and placed it past a diving Churchill goalkeeper Lalit Thapa. After the interval, United came back with much purpose and were the more dominating side. 

United had a flurry of chances but failed to break the deadlock. In the 67th minute, Eric Brown’s curler from just outside the 18-yard box failed to beat the Churchill Wall. 

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