Churchill in semi-finals

Our Bureau

Calcutta/Siliguri: McDowell Mohun Bagan registered their first win of the Federation Cup on Monday, beating rivals Mohammedan Sporting 2-1 in the concluding Group B match at the Kanchenjungha Stadium in Siliguri.

Churchill Brothers will advance to the semi-finals from the group after they blanked 10-man Air India 4-0. The Goa outfit sealed the top position in the group standings with seven points while Bagan finished third with four points.

However, Bagan, who are known to change coaches frequently, want to stick with coach Santosh Kashyap despite the team's early exit from the Federation Cup.

"Four games is not enough to judge a coach so we are not sacking him and we also don't want to appoint any technical director. We are confident of bouncing back in the I-League and intend to keep him till the end of the season," Bagan general secretary Anjan Mitra said at a press conference here on Monday.

With only academic interest left in the match, Bagan decided to rest some of their key players, including striker Okolie Odafa, defender Syed Rahim Nabi. But the players put up a cohesive show unlike their previous two outings.

In the 17th minute, Jewel Raja failed to score from the spot, hitting the upright. Striker CS Sabeeth and midfielder Manish Maithani played well to score the goals for Bagan. While Sabeeth found the target in the 50th minute, Manish struck three minutes later. David Sunday pulled one back for Mohammedan Sporting in the 63rd minute.

Churchill saw their famed forward-line combining well as they dominated the match from the outset. Nigerian Henry Autchouet, Brazilian Beto, Lebanese Akram Moghrabi and midfielder Bikramjit Singh scored for the Goa side.

Churchill drew first blood in the 22nd minute when Henry capped a solo effort. Churchill doubled their lead in the 64th minute. Beto, who impressed in his role as the playmaker, scored from a spectacular free-kick.

In the 66th minute, Air India suffered a huge blow when captain Mickey Fernandes was sent off with a red card after he fouled Beto.

Continuing their terrific display, Churchill scored two more goals, which came off the Lebanese striker Akram in the 84th minute and Bikramjit Singh in the 90th minute.