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Lajong stuns Churchill

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MID-FIELD SCRAMBLE: Seikhohau Tuboi (in white) is surrounded by the Churchill Brothers players during the semifinals.
MID-FIELD SCRAMBLE: Seikhohau Tuboi (in white) is surrounded by the Churchill Brothers players during the semifinals.

Principal Correspondent

GUWAHATI: Debutant Shillong Lajong FC pulled off an incredible 1-0 win over I-League champion Churchill Brothers to make it to the final of the 31st Federation Cup at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium on Wednesday.

Striker Seikhohau Tuboi scored the only goal of the match in the 29th minute. Lajong will meet the winner of Thursday’s second semifinal between East Bengal and Mohun Bagan.

The diminutive Tuboi stole the moment with a fine show of opportunism in the first session for Lajong FC. Facing one of the best defences in the country, Tuboi remained doggedly persistent in finding the way into the Churchill Brothers box.

In the thick of things

The Lajong striker was up within the very first minute, when his bicycle kick missed the mark by inches. Remaining unrelenting with his quick runs and body feints, Tuboi found another chance in the 20th minute but failed to find the net as the Churchill custodian Lalit Thapa closed in to cut off his attempt. Tuboi finally succeeded in the 29th minute when he foxed the two Churchill central backs Naoba Singh and Rowilson Rodrigues and pushed the ball home with a left-footed placement.

Churchill Brothers was considerably slowed down as the Lajong FC players put up a hot chase every time the former tried to control the proceedings. Ogba Kalu and Okolie Odafa opened up a chance for Churchill Brothers but the former spoiled the 12th minute opportunity managing a feeble attempt inside the Lajong box.

Odafa, who came closest to scoring in the 36th minute, saw his attempt blocked by the Lajong custodian Gumpe Rime. The rebound found Odafa but Daniel Bidemi brought him down inside the box for a penalty to Churchill Brothers. It was not Churchill Brothers’s day as its most prolific scorer Odafa saw his attempt from the spot saved by Rime.

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