Calcutta: Kingfisher East Bengal suffered a huge setback to their title hopes as they endured a humiliating 0-3 defeat to Churchill Brothers in an I-League match at the Salt Lake Stadium, here, on Saturday. Henry Autchouet scored a brace while Akram Mograbi struck the other goal.
Churchill, thus, avenged their first leg 0-3 defeat to East Bengal and consolidated their lead at the top with 37 points from 15 matches. East Bengal remained in the second spot with 33 points from 17 matches.
For the last two seasons, inconsistency during the second leg of the I-League has been the biggest bane of the red-and-gold-brigade, robbing them of a chance to regain the title.
This season, too, it seems that they are suffering from the same problem. In the last six matches, they have won three and lost three. The recent results have been a clear indication of their poor form.
However, coach Trevor James Morgan didn’t seem to be too perturbed with the poor performances till Saturday. The reason: East Bengal were able to create chances in the matches.
On Saturday, the red-and-gold brigade were so pathetic that they failed to create a clear opening even once in the match. That the Churchill goalkeeper Sandip Nandy was never really troubled during the match will give you a fair idea of the failure of East Bengal strikers.
Morgan was brave enough to confess that it was the worst performance of the team under his tenure.
In a nutshell, Churchill outplayed East Bengal on every aspect. The greatest strength of Churchill is their midfielders. And they didn’t disappoint, maintaining a steady possession throughout the match. While Lenny Rodrigues and Bikramjit Singh helped in snatching the ball, Beto showed the vision as well as the ability to create the opportunities for the strikers.
In the 35th minute, Churchill took the lead. Midfielder Steven Dias’ right-footer took a deflection off Uga Okpara before Henry flicked the ball into the net. Surprisingly, the linesman’s flag stayed down even though Beto and Henry were standing on the off-side.
Henry doubled the lead at the stroke of half-time when he converted a Dias pass.
Substitute Moghrabi completed the rout when he headed home a Dias free-kick in the 83rd minute.