Margao: Churchill Brothers won its maiden I-League football title after a 6-2 thrashing of Mohammedan Sporting in the last round encounter at Nehru Stadium here on Thursday.
The Goan side, which led 2-0 at half time, scored through Reisangmi Vashum (5th), Odafe Okolie (8th, 84th), Felix Chimaokwu (61st), Khanthangpaite (63rd) and Thokchom Naoba Singh (87th). Mike Okoro (52nd) and substitute Jothikumar (90th) found the target for Sporting.
Churchill, which topped the table with 46 points, earned Rs. 50 lakh as the winner’s prize money. Okolie with 26 goals in the tournament earned Rs. 50,000 for being the highest scorer.
Sporting started promisingly with better ball possession but its defence caved in under pressure by conceding two goals in three minutes.
The league’s top scorer Odafe Okolie sent a through pass to Reisangmi Vashum who, on entering the box, centred the ball which defender Wasim Feroz tried to clear in haste only to put it into his own goal in the fifth minute.
Three minutes later, the Sporting citadel fell again. Okolie beat a defender and gently placed the ball to the far end of the net off a forward pass from Khan Thang Paite.
Churchill could have easily led by bigger margin at the interval but the Sporting ’keeper Manas Barua who brought off some smart saves.
Soon after resumption, Okoro scored in the 52nd minute, off a pass from Satyajit Bose, to reduce the margin.
But Churchill hit back strongly with three goals to snuff off any challenge of a Sporting comeback.
Okolie played a pass to Chimaokwu who beat a rushing ’keeper to shoot into the open net.
Paite increased the margin two minutes later when he found the net with a left footer.
In the 84th minute, Okolie scored his second and Thokchom rounded off the tally with a firm right footer in the 87th minute.
Sporting substitute Jothi Kumar reduced the margin in the last minute.
Meanwhile in Ludhiana, Jaspreet Singh scored the all-important goal as JCT defeated Mumbai FC 1-0 to avert relegation. — PTI
Bagan’s hopes dashed
Special Correspondent adds:
In New Delhi, Mahindra United dashed Mohun Bagan’s title hopes with a 2-1 victory at the Ambedkar Stadium.
The Mumbai outfit dominated the contest and scored in either half through Edeh Chidi (42nd and 60th). Branco Vincent Cardozo knocked in a goal for Bagan in the last minute of the match.
Sporting Clube third
At Gurgaon, Sporting Clube de Goa defeated Air India 3-1 at the Tau Devi Lal Stadium to finish third in the league.
Elijah Omagbimero Junior (31st), Bibiano Fernandes (78th) and L. Bisheswhor Singh (90th) scored for Sporting Clube.
Michael Tayo netted for Air India in the 53rd minute.
E. Bengal rallies to draw
Principal Correspondent adds:
East Bengal held Dempo SC 2-2 in the concluding round encounter of the I-League in Barasat.
Yusif Yakubu (16th minute) and Ishmael Addo (65th) netted for East Bengal while Cressan Antao (26th) and Roberto Mendes Silva (28th) scored for the Goan side.
The one point from the drawn result helped East Bengal squeeze into a respectable sixth position in the 12-team order, while Dempo, tied with Mahindra United on 31 points, finished fourth for having a better goal difference.