Kalyani, Jan 10: AIFF’s developmental side Indian Arrows went down fighting 2-5 against Churchill Brothers FC Goa at the Kalyani Municipal Stadium in Kalyani on Sunday.
Clayvin Bernardez’s hattrick and Luka Majcen’s brace led Churchill Brothers to a hard-fought win over the Arrows in a see-saw match that tested the grit of the Goan club.
Churchill Brothers got right into the thick of the action and took the lead in the second minute itself. Luka Majcen’s header found the back of the net after a strong shot ricocheted off the crossbar and fell his way. The early setback, however, did not deter the young Arrows.
Showing extraordinary grit, AIFF’s developmental side got back into the game, playing free-flowing attacking football. Their attacking prowess bore fruit in the ninth minute when Vanlalruatfela’s attempt from inside the box from a delicious cross found him, crashed against the net to equalise the proceedings.
In the 21st minute, Gurkirat Singh was brought down inside the box and the forward scored from the spot-kick to give Arrows the lead. With Indian Arrows scoring two goals in the space of 15 minutes, Churchill tried to soak up the pressure by playing a deep backline.
The speed of Van Lalruatfela and Gurkirat up front proved to be a handful for the opposition defenders. However, the Arrows’ attacking spell was crushed in the 35th minute when Clayvin Bernardez headed home after a cross from the left flank found him inside the box.
With the scoreline level once again, Churchill had the opportunity to go into the half-time break leading, had Luka’s header not been heroically saved by the Arrows’ custodian seconds before the referee blew his whistle.
Churchill Brothers started to batter the Indian Arrows defence, and they formulated their game-plan from the opening of the second half. Luka and Bernardez’ physical prowess gave the young Arrows defenders problems.
In the 59th minute, the pairing combined and Bernardez’ powerful shot from the edge of the box left the Arrows custodian stunned as Churchill once again took the lead. In a see-saw match, the Goan outfit looked to cement their win by extending their lead. And in the 69th minute, Bernardez found the back of the net once again, this time, via a thumping header off a corner kick, to double Churchill’s lead.
The young Arrows tried to minimise the deficit and searched for the equaliser, but to no avail. Churchill Brothers put the tie to rest in the 75th minute when Luka’s header from a free-kick crashed into the back of the Arrows’ net as the Goan outfit took a three-goal lead. The full-time score read 5-2 in Churchill’s favour.
Both Indian Arrows and Churchill Brothers play their next match on Thursday (January 14) as they face off against Sudeva Delhi FC and Mohammedan SC at the Kalyani Municipal Stadium.