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Willis Plaza stars as Churchill Brothers down Real Kashmir to go third

The Goan side have shown a resurgent rise in their standings after back-to-back wins…

Churchill Brothers beat Real Kashmir 2-1 to rise to third in the I-League 2019-20 standings after Wednesday’s tie at the Jawaharlal Nehru stadium in Fatorda, Goa.

Willis Plaza (11′ pen.) starred with a goal and an assist for Lalkhawpuimawia’s 20th minute strike to take the Goans’ tally to 19 points from 11 games while the Snow Leopards, for whom Robin Singh (82′) reduced the margin of defeat, remain seventh with 15 points as many games.

Bernardo Tavares made four changes after the 2-1 win against Aizawl FC last weekend with goalkeeper Sukhadev Patil making his way in alongside Lamgoulen Hangshing, Quan Gomes and Willis Plaza.

After a solitary goal defeat in Punjab, David Robertson made three changes with Dalraj Singh, Brian Mascarenhas and Danish Farooq replacing Novin Gurung, Chesterpoul Lyngdoh and Kallum Higginbotham.

Radanfah Abu Bakr struck wide first time from a Quan Gomes corner in the fifth minute, though it was a short wait until Plaza converted his spot kick after a handball by Dalraj in the Real Kashmir box.

The Red Machines dominated play and with Plaza unable to break free from a swarm of white shirts, the Trinidadian trickled the ball towards Lalkhawpuimawia who fired into the top right corner of Phurba Lachenpa’s goal to double his side’s lead in the 20th minute.

Real Kashmir recorded their first notable opportunity at goal in the 26th minute but Mason Robertson’s effort off a low cross by Robin was blocked by Patil at handshaking distance, other than first half substitute Higginbotham’s attempt from distance close to hitting the target in the 41st minute.

Lalkhawpuimawia was through on goal after Loveday Enyinnaya faltered against Jovel Martins’ delivery but Lachenpa was at hand with a brilliant save in the 56th minute.

Higginbotham and Bazie Armand were creating tension around the Churchill box at the start of the second half but with Patil spoiling whatever was aimed at Robin and Englishman except for a long diagonal ball for the striker on-loan from Hyderabad FC in the 82nd minute.

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