I-League: Arrows ride Sarkar's heroics against Churchill Brothers FC
Indian Arrows launched an extraordinary fight-back to win 2-1 against Churchill Brothers FC in their Hero I-League encounter at the Tilak Maidan Stadium on Saturday
Indian Arrows launched an extraordinary fight-back to win 2-1 against Churchill Brothers FC in their Hero I-League encounter at the Tilak Maidan Stadium on Saturday. The Arrows were trailing 0-1 till the 90th minute after an 11th-minute strike from Dawda Ceesay and were staring at another defeat until substitute Abhijit Sarkar scored two injury time goals to turn the game upside down.
This victory took the young Turks to the eighth spot on the league table with 14 points from 15 matches. Churchill are a spot above them with 16 points from 13 games. There were two changes for Indian Arrows from their last outing against East Bengal. Rahum Ali's injury meant coach Luis Norton de Matos had to bring in Nongdamba Naorem and local boy Princeton Rebello also got a start dropping Abhijit Sarkar to the bench. But few would have predicated that Sarkar and Boris will have such an enormous impact on the game. For Churchill Brothers, the only change from the team that beat Aizawl FC was Kalu Ogba replacing Bektur Talgat Uluu.
It were Churchill Brothers who drew first blood. Nicholas Fernandes beat Asish Rai and worked his way to the by-line before floating a ball into the far post. Dawda Ceesay calmly nodded the ball past Arrows goalkeeper Prabhusukhan Gill to make it 1-0 in the 11th minute. There were no other notable action other than Ceesay's goal in the first-half. After the changeover, Churchill Brothers' Eldor Hussein rattled the crossbar from a free-kick in the 54th minute. The work-rate of the Arrows youngsters could not be faulted and they kept going at the Churchill defence. But nothing came of it as they barely tested Churchill goalkeeper James Kithan.
This was until Kithan almost gifted the Arrows a goal in the 65th minute. A shot by Deepak Tangri from outside required a routine save from the goalkeeper. Kithan spilt the ball right in front of Rahul. The forward wasn't expecting the opportunity and ended up fluffing his shot. Just when Churchill felt the game was won, Boris fought off the challenge of Eldor Hussein and ran down the right flank before picking out Sarkar who slid in and put the ball past Kithan. They stunned Churchill Brothers again when they breached their defence for a second time soon after. Following a quick flurry of passes amongst Deepak Tangri and Edmund Lalrindika, finally, the ball finally landed to Sarkar, who was left unmarked inside the box. Sarkar curled the ball into the net as the spectators went into raptures.
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