Churchill Brothers crowned I-league champions (Lead)

April 16th, 2009 - 9:41 pm ICT by IANS  

Margao, April 16 (IANS) Churchill Brothers are the new I-League football champions. Goa’s top team recorded its maiden triumph with a thumping 6-2 victory over Kolkata’s Mohammedan Sporting here at the Nehru Stadium before a capacity home crowd.
The Goan club did not have to worry about the outcome of the match between the other contender for the title, Mohun Bagan, who lost 1-2 to Mahindra United to finish second in the league.

Churchill, who were in contention for the country’s professional football league title on at least four occasions, made their Serbian coach Zoran Djordjevic also proud as he became the first overseas coach to pilot a team to the championship title.

As luck would have it, Mohun Bagan lost their last match 1-2 to Mahindra and Churchill Brothers finished with 46 points, three more than the Kolkata team.

Churchill’s prolific goalscorer Odafe Okolie (8th, 84th) was again on target with his brace making the Nigerian the highest goalscorer for the second successive time with 26 goals. His compatriot Felix Chimaokwu (61st), Khan Thang Paite (63rd) and Naoba Singh (88th) struck once while Wasim Feroze’s (5th) own goal added to Churchill’s tally.

Mike Okoro (52nd) and Jothi Kumar (93rd) reduced the margin for Mohammedan Sporting.

Churchill got the lucky lead in the fifth minute, when defender Feroze in his attempt to clear the ball from Odafe in the box slotted into his own net. Three minutes later, Odafe showed his class when he made room in the box by foxing defenders and booted it into the top corner.

Churchill went into the break with a 2-0 lead but Mohammedan Sporting cam back strongly after the breather as veteran Mike Okoro headed Satyajit Bose’s flag-kick to reduce the margin.

But Churchill were unstoppable. The brilliant Odafe found an unmarked Felix Chimaokwu, who unleashed his powerful right footer to make it 3-1 for the Goans. Paite and Naoba piled the misery on Mohammedan Sporting to complete the tally for the winners.

In injury time, substitute Jothi pulled one back for Mohammadden Sporting but couldn’t help his side from suffering the ignominy of relegation with Vasco.

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