It was the difference between finishing and fumbling. Both Churchill Brothers and Mahindra United had enough opportunities to score owing to some misjudgements on the part of the two goalkeepers. But with a top-class finisher like Okolie Odafa in their line-up,the Goan side proved too good for the home team,winning the encounter 3-1 at the Cooperage on Saturday.
Felix Chimaokwe (39th) had put Churchill in front,while Odafa scored a brace (63rd and 82nd) to consolidate the lead for the visitors. For the local team,Douhou Pierre (89th) scored the consolation goal.
With just 12 points,Mahindra continue to languish in the bottom half of the table,while Federation Cup semi-finalists Churchill Brothers improved their tally to 23 points,one behind second-placed Mohun Bagan.
The Mumbai giants kicked off the match with purpose and combined well. However,they paid dearly for bungling gilt-edged scoring opportunities that would have given them a comfortable cushion and the edge in the first half.
In the second half,it was left to Odafa to steal the thunder with two well-executed goals. The second one was scored from a difficult angle.
I think he (Odafa) had already overstepped the line but none of our players complained, Mahindra coach Derrick Pereira said.
Odafa had a different story to tell. One of the defenders was pulling my shirt when I was about to score. So then I looked at the referee,expecting him to blow for a penalty. But since nothing of that kind happened,I simply put the ball in, said the 22-year-old,who is now the top goal-scorer in the league with 11 goals.