East Bengal vs Prayag United
Both teams were looking for their first win of the I-League 2011-12 but Prayag United started off as the better side with a flurry of attacks from the word go. They looked dangerous on a couple of occasions in the early part of the first half. Snehashish Dutta of Prayag United also headed the ball against the post midway through the first half off a Kayne Vincent cross.
Kingfisher East Bengal, on the other hand, starting with Alan Gow and Tolgay Ozbey upfront, had their best chance of the half when Alan played a through ball to Tolgay, but his shot went straight to the goalkeeper, Abhijeet Mondol.
Prayag United's Tulunga also had a shot well saved by East Bengal goalkeeper Gurpreet Singh Sandhu in the first half.
Prayag United were rewarded for their attacking play early in the 2nd half when Yusuf Yakubu opened the scoring with his 121st goal in the National League/I-League. It was a well taken goal off a long ball headed to him by Arnab Mondal. Yusuf Yakubu is currently the all-time highest scorer.
East Bengal, however, attacked much more in the 2nd half as Trevor Morgan made 3 changes with Penn Orji, Baljit Singh Saini and Gurwinder Singh coming on. Alan Gow was pushed forward to play a more attacking role with Tolgay Ozbey.
Sanju Pradhan missed a goal-scoring chance off a rebound in the box but made up for it late in the match when he played a through ball to Baljit Singh Saini who had no problem in converting with a left-footed shot in the 85th minute.
With both teams getting one point each, neither were able to register their first win of the tournament and will have to wait until the next round of matches. Prayag United is currently on two points while Kingfisher East Bengal has registered just one point till now.
Churchill vs Air India
Churchill Brothers Sports Club relied on opportunistic strikes from Henri Autchouet to get the better of Air India 2-0 at the Nehru Stadium in Fatorda, Goa.
Churchill Brothers dominated from start to finish but the inability of their strikers to convert the chances into goals meant they had to survive some anxious moments, most particularly towards the closing stages of the match.
Gabonese striker, Henri, scored once in each session, the last coming in the final minute of play.
Churchill was without doubt the better team and it showed in their strong start to the game. Henri and Nigerian striker, Ndubisi Opara, combined well upfront but the final touch that translates a good move into a goal was missing.
Opara had the first look at the rival goal in the eighth minute itself, but his snap shot from close range was saved on the goal line by Nepoleon Singh.
Air India goalkeeper, Pawan Kumar, was then pressed into action to stop Antun Kovacic’s grounder. Henri went close to scoring twice in quick succession and Lalrindika Ralte’s shot hit the crossbar.
The Air India citadel finally crumbled in the 24th minute when Henri picked up a ball from Ralte and picked the nearest post from an acute angle.
Air India seemed content in doing the defending but they did manage to create scares on a couple of occasions. Striker Henry Ezeh had the best chance of the match but, when picked out by Allan Das, he failed to beat Churchill goalkeeper Felix D’Souza in a one-to-one situation. Nepoleon Singh’s long ranger seemed destined for a goal until Felix managed to get his fingertips to the ball.
There was no end to Churchill’s tale of missed chances in the second session as well until Henri slipped a ball past the rival goalkeeper in the final minute of play.
With this win, Churchill have gained 6 points from two matches while Air India is languishing at the bottom of the table without a win and a point so far in the tournament.