I-League: Churchill ride Bektur show to escape relegation

Indo Asian News Service

Vasco (Goa), April 22 (IANS) Churchill Brothers SC staved off relegation with a comprehensive 6-1 thrashing of 10-man Chennai City FC in an I-League encounter at the Tilak Maidan Stadium here on Sunday.

Four goals from Kyrgyzstani midfielder Bektur Talgat Uulu (22nd, 82nd, 84th, 90+3 minutes) set the tone for a big win alongside goals from Ghanefo Kromah (66th) and Brandon Fernandes (90th) as the hosts managed to secure safety in style.

Soosai Raj (54th) pulled one back for the visitors but it was their only consolation from the game.

Man of the match Bektur also earned the distinction of having the highest tally of individual goals in a single I-League match this season.

The game was a slow burner with a majority of the first 15 minutes invested in midfield battles and no goalmouth action.

However, Bektur broke the deadlock when the hosts won a corner which was taken by Brandon Fernandes and his teasing ball into the six-yard box was not cleared by the Chennai City defence.

The ball eventually found its way to the Kyrgyzstani midfielder who simply placed it into the net.

Subsequently, Chennai City had a few opportunities although they were largely half chances as Churchill held onto their slender 1-0 lead despite a nervy end to the half.

However, Chennai City FC had a roaring start to the second half and they levelled the scores in the 54th minute.

The Churchill Brothers defence had switched off collectively as Soosai Raj who was lurking outside the box curled in an in-swinging shot with the outside of his boot into the top corner.

As soon as the momentum seemed to be shifting in favour of the visitors, they suffered a blow when they were reduced to 10 men. Defender Anyichie Celestine got his second yellow card for handling the ball in the 60th minute.

The defender had picked up his first yellow in the first half for a foul on Brandon.

Churchill capitalised on the numerical advantage and made it 2-1 in the 67th minute.

A quick interchange of passes between Bektur and Brandon in the final third allowed the latter to release Ansumana Kromah down the left channel and the unmarked forward finished through the legs of Chennai City goalkeeper Karanjit Singh.

The hosts increased their lead in the 81st minute when Brandon picked out Bektur with a low cross.

Bektur made no mistake, scoring his second goal of the game with a side-footed volley.

The midfielder completed his hat-trick in the 84th minute with a sliding finish as he got on the end of an Anthony De Souza cross.

There were more goals in store as Brandon got on the scoresheet in the 90th minute with a curling effort before Bektur scored his fourth in injury time.