Defending champions Churchill Brothers and last year runners-up Mahindra United registered convincing victories in their Durand Cup quarter-final group league matches at the Ambedkar Stadium on Friday.
Churchill Brothers set the tone early in the eighth minute when captain Okolie Odafe's header rebounded off the goalkeeper. Consistent pressure resulted in the opening goal in the 32nd minute when Odafe's shot took a deflection off Peter Siddiqui to send goalkeeper Kalyan Choubey the wrong way. Churchill Brothers's foreign duo combined well to double the lead in quick time. Ogba Kalu Nnanna provided a through to Onyeka, who netted in his second.
Down by two goals, Mumbai FC failed to pull up their socks even after the breather. Savio Monterio put Churchill Brothers 3-0 up in the 71st minute and by then the Mumbai team were going through the motions.
Noel Wilson's strike off the spot late in the match after K. Aseem was brought down inside the area, was a mere consolation.
"For me the performance was satisfying as we played better than our opening game in the Goan league," said Churchill Brothers coach Emeka Ezugo.
"The quality of the game is being affected by these hot and humid conditions. The ground has floodlights, so use them. Playing under such heat is ridiculous," Ezugo added.
Ezugo also critisised the All India Football Federation for not being clear on the number of foreign players in the I-league. "Even FIFA doesn't change its rules in 15-20 years. But, here every year there is a new rule. The AIFF has to understand that foreign talent will improve the standard of the game in this country," said Ezugo.
Mohammed Rafi opened the scoring for Mahindra United in the 38th minute tapping home a corner. Three minutes later, Nigerian, Edeh Chidi made it 2-0 as he slotted home a perfect cross from Rafi, who was involved in all the three goals. Rafi was then brought down in the box and Douhous Pieree converted the spot-kick.