The Churchill midfielder played an influential role in Red Machines’ victory with a goal and an assist.
Calangute Association ended their season with a defeat as they went down to Churchill Brothers by a massive 4-0 margin in the Goa Professional League match played at Duler Stadium on Sunday afternoon. Uttam Rai scored a brace, while, Nicholas Fernandes and Anthony Wolfe scored one each for the Red Machines.
This win helped Churchill to climb to the third place with 39 points from 17 outings, while Calangute finished the season with 16 points and are currently placed 10th in the standings.
Umesh Harijan was the only change in the Churchill side who eased past Bardez FC in the last match, whereas, Calangute coach Agostinho Dias chose to go with the same XI which registered a massive 7-2 victory over Guardian Angel SC in the last round match. In the previous meet, the Red Machines had edged the beachsiders by a solitary goal in the last month.
Churchill had a glorious opportunity to take the lead in the fifth minute when Calangute defenders Jayganesh Goltekar and Gaurav Vaigankar failed to clear a dangerous ball in the box, taking advantage of the same, Churchill U-20 striker Cyrus Noronha took control of the ball and entered the box but Calangute keeper Sanij Bugde came off his line to deny the forward. Two minutes later, Churchill right-back Nickson Castanha made a darting run on the wing and cut past a defender to enter the box but his powerful strike was divingly pushed for safety by Calangute custodian.
Calangute also replied them with a swift attack from the centre as their midfielder Marvoti Horizan easily dribbled Churchill defender Jovel Martins and went for the glory from just inside the box but his strike hit another defender before going out for a corner. A few minutes later, Calangute once again came close to scoring as Rohan Pednekar found Senegalese striker Abdoul Fall in the box with a long ball where the striker tried his luck from the acute angle but his shot brushed Churchill keeper Kunzang Bhutia’s gloves and rebound off the side post. They had another opportunity in the 16th minutes when Marvoti made a swift run cutting past few opponents on his way and strike from inside the box only to see it missed by a hairline distance.
At the other end, Churchill skipper Nicholas Fernandes made a brilliant footwork on the deep left flank and curled the ball to Uttam Rai in the box but the forward failed to beat Calangute keeper Sanij with his header from the goalmouth. On the counter-attack, Calangute’s winger Rohan sent a cross to Dominic Fernandes in the box who found Fall with a header in the box but the Senegalese striker failed to keep his shot on the target. Whereas, Calangute custodian Sanij came with a brilliant save in the 36th minute as he brilliantly fisted over the crossbar Nickson’s scorching left-footer from the distance.
Churchill strikers failing to break the deadlock in the first 40 minutes, their coach Norbert Goanslaves brought in Trinidadian striker Anthony Wolfe replacing U-20 Cyrus but he could not make any changes to the scoreline until the half-time whistle. However, he took just four minutes to come into referee’s book as he was cautioned for dissent.
On crossing over, Calangute were the first to look at the goal as their striker cut past a defender and set up Rohan with just keeper to beat but Churchill keeper made timely save to deny the Beachside from taking the lead.
Whereas it was Churchill who broke the deadlock in the 49th minute when skipper Nicholas made a low cross to Uttam in the box whose tap was blocked by Calangute custodian but unmarked Nicholas slotted the loose ball in the net from close to put his side into the lead.
The Red Machines took five more minutes to double their lead as Nicholas made a through pass to Uttam at the top of the box whose powerful right-footer entered the top corner giving no chance to Calangute keeper Sanij.
Churchill had a glorious opportunity to inflate their lead in the 64th minute when Calangute’s Senegalese midfielder Sidath Ndiaye brought down Churchill’s Wolfe in the box to give away the penalty but Calangute’s substitute keeper Shubham Naik who replaced injured Sanij dived to his right to deny Wolfe’s spot kick.
However, Wolfe scored the third goal for the Red Machines in the 73rd minute when he made a diving effort to head the ball home off Jovel’s fine cross from the edge of the box. A very next minutes, Uttam completed his brace when he made a simple tap-in from the goalmouth to Shallum Pires’ low cross to make it 4-0 for Churchill.