Churchill downs East Bengal 3-2, Odafe scores hat-trick

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Margao, Dec 13 (UNI) Powered by a fine hat-trick by man-of-the-match Nigerian Odafe Okolie, Churchill Brothers edged out spirited East Bengal 3-2 and gained full points in their 5th round ONGC I-League Championship match played at the Nehru Stadium, Fatorda, here today.

Odafe scored in the 31st, 40th and 43rd minutes. For East Bengal, Edmilson Margues scored in the 18th minute and Mehatab Hussain in the 86th minute. Odafe has registered the first hat-trick of the championship so far.

With this win, Churchill Brothers increased their points tally to 9 from three wins and two losses. East Bengal remained on the same 7 points.

Churchill, after their consecutive defeats against Dempo and JCT, today put up a dazzling display of fine ball control and shooting prowess, especially in the first half.

East Bengal started on a promising note and dominated the first 25 minutes of play. They secured one goal's lead through Edmilson Marques in the 25th minute off a pass from Alvito D'Cunha.

Stung by the debacle, Churchill rallied splendidly and restored the parity in the 31st minute through Odafe who, after collecting a pass from Genius Zenith, dodged past a couple of rival defenders and unleashed a powerpacked shot which found the net to make it 1-1.

In the 34th minute, penalty was awarded to East Bengal by referee Ali Saleem when Churchill's goalkeeper Lalit Thapa brought down Edmilson Marques in the penalty area. Edmilson, who took the spot kick, failed to convert and the ball went over the bar.

In the 40th minute, the referee awarded a spot kick to Churchill when East Bengal substitute Debobrata, who came in place of M M Mukasi, brought down Churchill's new recruit Osbakalu in the danzer zone. Odafe converted the spot kick correctly to make it 2-1.

Two minutes before the breather, Odafe completed his hat-trick. Odafe, after collecting a pass from Khenthang Paite, moved with the ball, dribbling past rival defender Majek Bolaji and unleashed a rasping shot which found the nets to make it 3-1.

After the cross over, there was not much of action as Churchill preferred to adopt defensive tactis. Churchill could have increasded their lead in the 74th minute but East Bengal's Jayant Sen brought off a goal line save off a well-attempted try by Odafe.

East Bengal reduced the margin in the 86th minute through Mehtab Hussain whose long ranger shot found the net to make it 3-1.

UNI

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