I-League: Willis Plaza brace helps East Bengal beat Churchill Brothers
East Bengal’s Willis Plaza (45+2, 90+7 minutes) netted deep into stoppage time to cancel out goals from Churchill Brothers’ Peter Omoduemuke (16th) and Nicholas Fernandes (60th) after Laldanmawia Ralte (18th) had negated the visitors’ early lead in an I-League matchfootball Updated: Dec 16, 2017 22:32 IST
Trinidadian striker Willis Plaza struck late in both halves to help East Bengal script a come-from-behind 3-2 win over Churchill Brothers in a rip-roaring I-League football encounter at the Vidyasagar Krirangan here on Saturday.
Plaza (45+2, 90+7 minutes) netted deep into stoppage time to cancel out goals from Peter Omoduemuke (16th) and Nicholas Fernandes (60th) after Laldanmawia Ralte (18th) had negated the visitors’ early lead.
The result condemned Churchill to their fourth straight defeat in four games while the home team jumped to the third position after four games.
Churchill goalkeeper James Kithan made a string of superb second half saves but in the end could not keep out a Plaza header from a Yusa Katsumi corner when the scores were even at 2-2.
East Bengal remained unchanged from their last outing, a 5-1 rout of Shillong Lajong, while Churchill made one change from their previous outing, Kalu Ogba making his second debut for the Goan side after spending three years (2007-2010) with them.
After looking likelier to nose ahead in the initial few minutes, the hosts fell behind against the run of play when Omoduemuke slotted home Israil Gurung’s cross from the left.
East Bengal drew level almost immediately. Laldanmawia Ralte made a solo run to dart inside the box past Churchill defenders after Plaza set him up just outside the box.
The red and golds had a chance to take the lead when Katsumi combined with Plaza but the latter blazed his effort over the bar.
Plaza would end his goal drought soon though, heading in a Katsumi cross from the left.
Churchill drew level at the hour mark courtesy a superb dink by Fernandes who used a deft tough with his left foot to put the ball past East Bengal goalkeeper Mirshad.
Khalid Jamil’s men tried hard to wrestle back the lead for the second time in the match with Ralte and Plaza coming close. But visiting keeper Kithan was up to the task, saving saving well on both occasions.
He made some excellent saves later as well denying Mahmoud Al Amna in the 80th minute.
In the end though, he resilience was breached and East Bengal bagged full points forcing Churchill to stay at the foot of the 10-team points table in gut-wrenching manner.