Lalkhawpuimawia scored a brilliant hat-trick in the second half for the Red Machines.
Churchill Brothers FC sealed a comfortable 5-2 win over Dempo Sports Club in the Goa Football Association Goa Professional League at Dempo SC Academy ground, Ella, Old Goa.
Lalkhawpuimawia (65’, 73’, 77’) scored a second half hat-trick for the Red Machines while Willis Plaza, who was back in the side, scored two goals (12’ & 18’). Meanwhile, Golden Eagles managed to pull two goals back in the second half additional time through Pedro Gonsalves.
Dempo had Mathew Gonsalves back in the side and the team looked well in shape as they tried using the flank in the initial stages. But despite creating chances through Nickson Castanha and Abranches, it was Churchill Brothers who had the first real chance of the game when they were awarded free-kick. Willis Plaza managed to keep Meldon Silva’s header straight into the Dempo SC keeper Luis Barreto’s hands.
Willis Plaza’s presence in the team gave them attacking boost as in the 12th minute the foreign recruit’s vision was lauded when on seeing the keeper out of position, he crushed his shot into the goal from a long distance. This was the first goal Luis conceded ever since he joined the club mid season.
At the other end, Dempo SC pushed for the equaliser and had a chance from a corner when Rajat’s perfect delivery met Shallum Pires but the defender couldn’t direct his header in the frame. Churchill Brothers were lethal in their attack as Willis Plaza scored his ninth goal of the Goa Pro League season with his second of the day. Darren played a perfect delivery in the box, wherein an unmarked Plaza slammed the ball from the face of the goal.
Luis Barreto and Dempo SC defence could have done better to deal with the cross. Churchill Brothers continued their pursuit in search of more goals. Lalkhawpuimawia and Plaza played one-two before breaking open Dempo SC defence but the former’s shot on target was timely blocked by Dempo defender Mathew.
In the second quarter, there were some anxious moments for Dempo SC. Churchill Bros Lalkhawpuimawia’s effort almost rolled into the goal but Dempo SC keeper recovered in time to thwart the danger. And then the defence was once again caught on the wrong foot when Mathew’s header was spilled by Dempo SC keeper Luis Barreto, But before Red Machines’ Lalkhawpuimawia reached to the ball, Shallum Pires cleared the ball to safety.
In a bid to bring creativity into play, coach Samir Naik replaced Rajat Harijan with Velito Cruz. Dempo keeper Luis came with a diving save to deny Plaza just before the first half time whistle as the Red Machines led 2-0 at the break.
Crossing over, nothing really changed for Dempo SC as Churchill Brothers continued their dominance. Churchill’s Meldon Silva, who was back in the side in defence, played a brilliant game and made it difficult for the opponents to break into their territory. It wasn’t just Dempo SC’s day as they couldn’t get their acts rights. They had a perfect chance to score but their star striker Joaquim Abranches headed wide off Pedro’s cross, with just the keeper at his mercy.
On the other side of the field, Plaza nearly bagged his hat-trick when he danced his way past Dempo SC defence, but his right foot curler narrowly missed the target. However, the third goal finally arrived in the 65th minute when Lalkhawpuimawia was fed by Mauvin Borges and the former’s first time shot from inside the box kept the Dempo SC keeper Luis guessing.
Mauvin Borges would have assisted another one but Lalkhawpuimawia failed to make the best of the delivery. Nevertheless, the striker scored his second in the 73rd minute before completing his hat-trick in the 77th minute from the penalty spot.
Dempo SC’s Shallum Pires brought down Clencio Pinto in the box, forcing referee to point towards the spot. Churchill Brothers almost got their sixth of the day when Clencio slammed the ball at the back of the net, but it was rightly flagged offside by the assistant referee.
At the other end, second half Dempo substitute Suraj saw his effort hit the post and come back into the play. Dempo SC, after much pressing, finally managed to pull a goal back against Churchill Brothers in the 90+ 1 minute through Pedro before he scored his second from the penalty spot to make it 2-5.