Mapusa (Goa): Shillong Lajong made defending champions Churchill Brothers pay heavily for their missed chances as they recorded a 1-0 victory in Airtel I-League football here at the Duler Stadium here Tuesday.
Churchill Brothers dominated the visitors for long spells but could not translate their domination into goals. Shillong Lajong sensed the opportunity and scored the winner in the 71st minute through Glenn Cornell.
The win propelled Shillong Lajong to the third spot while condemning Churchill Brothers to the bottom of the league ladder. The threat of relegation now seems for real as a win for Rangdjaied United in the next clash will widen the gap to four points.
Churchill had themselves to blame for the victory. They missed far too many chances and were guilty of conceding a soft goal, made to look worse by equally poor goalkeeping from Arindam Bhattacharya.
Churchill technical director Subhash Bhowmick made five changes to the team that surrendered meekly against Bengaluru FC in the previous game. Anthony Pereira, Balwant Singh, Satish Singh, Sanjay Balmuchu and Bineesh Balan were all included in the starting eleven, and even though the team seemed to take control of the proceedings early in the game, they lacked the killer instinct upfront.
Balwant wasted many chances to open the account and possibly even kill the game in the first 45 minutes itself.
Micky Fernandes sent a through pass to Balwant whose left footer early went wide. A few minutes later, Bineesh Balan and Balwant took turns in hesitating at taking a crack at goal when the Lajong defence appeared to be in shambles.
In a 26th minute counter-attack , Churchill looked like they would definitely break the duck but Bineesh's shot across the goal could not be turned into the goal by Balwant. And if that wasn't enough, some fine work by Egyptian midfielder Abdel Hamid Shabana came to nothing as Balwant ended with a meek effort.
In the second session, Churchill's saga of missed chances continued.
Shabana sent a though ball to Lenny Rodrigues in the 52nd minute but the India midfielder was slow to react, allowing Lajong goalkeeper Laltaummawia Ralte to avert the danger.
Lajong made Churchill Brothers pay in a spectacular fashion. A swift counter attack saw Glen beat his marker Satish for pace, and even though Arindam appeared to have thwarted the danger, the ball slipped out of his grasp, allowing Glen a simple tap for the only goal of the match.