The Red Machines registered a win after two straight defeats in the league.
Churchill Brothers Sports Club registered a hard-fought 1-0 win over Panjim Footballers in the Goa Professional League match played under floodlights at Duler Stadium earlier in the evening.
The Red Machines climbed one place from the bottom of the table to 11th with 16 points from 14 matches, whereas, Panjim still struggling to avoid the relegation with just 18 points from 20 matches.
Panjim who had hammered Guardian Angel SC with 4 goals in the last match had only one change as their coach Savio Vaz gave chance to defender Devendra Pednekar in the starting XI for the Capital City side. On the other hand, Churchill who had suffered two back-to-back defeats against Calangute Association and FC Goa in the last two matches made three changes as Israil Gurung, Pankaj Sona and Arvind Silva found a place in Alfred Fernandes’ XI.
After a dominant play in the first quarter, Churchill Trinidadian striker Willis Plaza was successful to break Panjim defence and placed the ball in the back of the net in the 18th minute but assistant referee Raja Pir disallowed the same as the Trinidadian committed a foul on Panjim defender Clive Miranda.
A very next minute, Panjim came close to scoring when Devendra found Snedden Rodrigues in the box with a perfect cross but the striker’s goalbound header was nicely tipped over the crossbar by Churchill keeper Ricardo Cardozo.
Another chance went begging for Panjim in the 18th minutes when Egyptian midfielder Fady Riad set up Congo Alphonse Shako with a superb chip pass but the winger shot found the side netting.
Churchill had another chance in the added time of the first session when Israil’s pin-point perfect corner was headed at the goal by Pankaj but Panjim defender Devendra cleared it off the goal line to keep their slate clean.
Desperate to win a match after losing back-to-back two matches, Churchill coach Alfred brought in James Fernandes to replace U-20 Sevlon Cardozo, and the just-in winger delivered with his first touch when Alber Gonsalves’ fine cross from the left was headed in by him to make it 1-0 for the Red Machines in the 65th minutes.
Panjim had the best chance to equalise in the 83rd minutes when substitute Sacidanand Satelkar easily dribbled past a defender and keeper Ricardo and was about to press the trigger in the empty goal but Churchill defender Suraj Singh came to rescue his side with a timely clearance to book all three points from the match.