Churchill Brothers FC Goa, with their first win of the season, have now 4 points from 7 matches whereas the Keralite side have same points having played 2 matches more.
Gokulam Kerala FC, who failed to score a single goal since their win against Indian Arrows last year, slumped to their fifth straight defeat in the on-going Hero I-League 2017-18 as Churchill Brothers FC Goa thumped their first win of the season.
Kalu Ogba (16′, 74′) scored the only goal in the first half before the match went into an enthralling 45 minutes of football. Daniel Addo (59′) pulled off the equaliser for the hosts before Emannuel (70′) bombed the second one for Bino George’s team. Their joy was cut short by Kalu Ogba again before Koffi Mechac (90’+2′) calmly converted the penalty to steal all three points from Gokulam Kerala FC’s grasp.
Before both the teams started to pass the ball meticulously, the Nigerian midfielder lobbed the goal from 30-yards out to send the home dugout in a shock. Gokulam Kerala FC’s defender Arjun Jayaraj on his attempt to clear the ball landed the ball on to Kalu’s feet who didn’t miss the opportunity to rattle the back of the net.
The visitors’ joy could have cut short by Alajmi who tried his luck from outside the box but his right-footed effort sailed over the crossbar.
At the stroke of the half-hour mark, the Bahrainian attacker hit the side-netting with a curling free-kick but the much-needed equaliser kept them eluding.
Peter drew some inspiration from Kalu and unleashed a couple of long-rangers to get the better of Bilal Khan but the lanky custodian didn’t face any danger gloving them effortlessly.
Daniel Addo sprinted down the left flank to outrun the Churchill Brothers defender but eventually, the danger was cleared earning the yellow brigade a corner in the added minutes at the end of the first half.
Alajmi’s curling corner came down nicely towards the target-man Odafa but the Nigerian striker’s powerful header was punched away safely by Churchill goalie Kithan to hold on to the slender lead before the teams headed to the changing room.
Gokulam Kerala FC shifted the gear at the advent of the second half and Kalu Ogba almost did a hara-kiri there minutes into the second half but his header was safely parried away by his teammate Nongkhlaw.
Alajmi continued supplying juicy deliveries for Odafa Kolie but the striker failed to find the back of the net once again jamming the delivery in Kithan’s pair of gloves.
Daniel Addo pulled off a stunning header in the 59th minute to draw a parity on the scoreline. Santu Singh swivelled a looping delivery inside the 18-yard box which was rightly punched by Addo to give the hosts some respite.
The hosts took the control of the game following the goal and they had to wait for only 10 minutes to take the lead, first in a month’s time during the on-going Hero I-League.
Alajmi took a direct free-kick which was punched away by Churchill goalkeeper Kithan but before the danger was averted completely, Emmanuel Chigozie blasted the back of the net to put the hosts in the driver’s seat.
Alajmi was operating silently and from the middle of the park but his long-ranger shots missed the targets time and again as his another effort landed on the roof of the net leaving the home-team dugout aghast.
After conceding two goals in a quick succession, Churchill Brothers had to quickly assemble things and the go-to person Kalu Ogba took only four minutes to cancel the hosts’ lead.
Monday took a low free-kick and Kalu slotted his second goal of the evening as he was completely left unmarked by the defenders closer to the farthest bar.
As the match rolled into the added minutes, Provat Lakra was brutally penalised for bringing Koffi Mechac down inside the penalty box and Gokulam Kerala FC goalie Bilal Khan had absolutely no answer to Koffi’s grounded right-footer blistering shot.
The Goanese side will host Shillong Lajong on January 19, 2018 and Bino George’s team will host the Highlanders in their next Hero I-League fixture nine days later.
Match Highlights can be found here.