East Bengal record second consecutive win in I-League against Churchill

Vasco (Goa), Jan 18 (IANS) East Bengal registered their second successive away win getting past Churchill Brothers 2-0 in a third round I-League football match at the Tilak Maidan here on Wednesday.

First half strikes from Thongkhosiem Haokip (31st) and Lalrindika Ralte (45th) sealed the deal for the away side. They were held to a 1-1 draw at home in their first game by Aizawl FC, then winning against DSK Shivajians in Pune 2-1.

Meanwhile, there was no stopping champions Bengaluru FC and striker C.K. Vineeth’s juggernaut as the Kerala boy smashed the first hat-trick (45th, 57th and 65th) in the club’s history to help side thrash Mumbai FC 3-0. This was Mumbai’s first defeat in the season.

Last weekend’s super-sub Vineeth earned a place in the starting XI ahead of Daniel Lalhlimpuia while midfielder Cameron Watson, who missed the game against Chennai with a stomach bug, made the team in place of Mandar Rao Dessai.

The other change was in the left-back position where Nishu Kumar started his first game of the season.

East Bengal were jolted early with an injury to defender Anwar Ali in the match. He was replaced by Gurwinder Singh.

They got their first chance in the 16th minute when midfielder Mehtab Hossain’s cutback was miscued by striker Willis Plaza.

The visitors took the lead in the 31st minute when U-22 player Nikhil Poojary ran down the right flank to cross for Haokip. Although his initial attempt was pegged back by Churchill midfielder Adil Khan, his second cross was turned in by a lurking Haokip.

They then doubled their tally at the stroke of halftime when Ralte curling in right from the corner.

In the second half Plaza, defender Ivan Bukenya, and Haitian forward Wedson Anselme all came close to increasing the margin but ultimately failing to add to the scoreline.

Churchill’s best chance of the match came in the 80th minute when midfielder Agnelo Colaco struck the post from a Anthony Wolfe diagonal pass.