Calcutta: Eric Brown stood up to score a brace as United SC secured a vital 2-0 win over Churchill Brothers in Saturday’s I-League encounter, at the Fatorda Stadium, in Margao.
The victory confirmed United SC a place in next season’s I-League as well, helping them dispel relegation fears. They are on 26 points from 23 matches.
For Churchill, all the good work they did in their previous match by beating East Bengal went for a toss as they must win their final game against Salgaocar on April 28 to be in a position of safety.
What made matters worse for Churchill was the red card to one of their key players, Abdelhamid Shabana, who was sent off in the 37 th minute after being booked for the second time in the match because of a needless challenge to Brown.
United SC took full advantage of Shabana’s ouster and went into the ascendancy four minutes into the second session. Off Sukhen Dey’s curling cross, Eric made no mistake to produce a header that found the target.
Churchill had a better ball possession throughout, but couldn’t do the all-important thing, which is to score. In the second half, especially, it appeared as if an equaliser was just round the corner, considering how the home team played.
Their finishing, though, was just not good enough.
Instead, United SC went on to double their lead in the 71st minute. It was Eric again who did the damage, scoring the winner for the purple jerseys.
With Raju Yumnam failing to clear a long ball and heading it towards Eric, the Liberian unleashed a sprint before curling the ball into the net to confirm victory for his side.
This victory certainly means a lot to United SC. Not just in avoiding the drop, but also when it comes to putting in a better show next season, this win could well serve as the catalyst for United SC.
“Throughout the season, our prospects took a beating because of financial crisis. So, we can relax a bit for the time being. But our struggle will resume from tomorrow itself,” said team director Nabab Bhattacharya.