Kalu helps Churchill take down Gokulam 3-2
Goan outfit Churchill Brothers registered their first win of the season as they got the better of Gokulam Kerala at the EMS Stadium on Monday evening. Kalu Ogba scored a brace (15' and 74') while Daniel Addo (59') and Emmanuel Chigozie (70') appeared on the score-sheet for their respective teams. However, it was Mechac Koffi who stole the limelight by scoring a 92nd minute winner from the penalty-strike.
Bino George rang the changes once again for Gokulam Kerala as new signing from Bahrain, Mahmood Al-Ajmi came into the side to slot in behind an out-of-form Odafa Okolie. Laldampuia and Salman flanked the no.9 to constitute a revamped attacking band of three for the home side.
Mechac Koffi, who scored a second-half equaliser for Churchill Brothers in their last game against East Bengal, continued to lead the line. Nigerian forward Peter Omoduemuke, Nicholas Fernandes and youngster Uttam Rai featured in support of the Ivory Coast striker.
It was a scrappy start to the game as both sides resorted to silly fouls in midfield, trying to prevent passes into the attacking third. Osagie Monday chose to skip the crowded midfield altogether with a long ball towards Nicholas Fernandes on the right flank.
Provat Lakra's misjudgement of the flight of the pass allowed the Goan winger a free run into the box but a loose touch let the home defence clear the ball away from danger.
The visitors opened the scoring in the 15th minute, thanks to a stunning volley from outside the box by Kalu Ogba. A throw-in by Jovel Martins from the left was initially headed clear by Daniel Addo inside the box. Arjun Jayaraj, who was positioned on the edge of the box, attempted an overhead clearance which ended up at the feet of the Nigerian striker who unleashed an unstoppable strike into the net.
The home side surged forward in search of an equaliser with the help of Al-Ajmi who bossed the midfield for Gokulam Kerala.
Odafa Okalie's lack of pace has been hurting Kerala's attack but the legendary I-League striker's touches were still too much for Wayne Vaz as he was fouled at the edge of the box at the half-hour mark.
New signing Mahmood Al-Ajmi stepped up and curled the resulting free-kick into the side-netting as Churchill Brothers held on against wave after wave of Gokulam Kerala's forays forward.
Odafa Okolie wasted two golden chances to bring his side back into the game just before the half-time whistle.