4th February, Hyderabad: Sreenidi Deccan Football Club edged Churchill Brothers FC 2-1 thanks to a dramatic late winner from defender Eli Sabia to take all three points in a Matchday 12 I-League clash here at the Tilak Maidan in Vasco on Sunday. After taking a first half lead through forward David Castaneda, the Deccan Warriors looked like they had dropped two points when Churchill Brothers’ Karim Samb equalised in the 88th minute but Brazilian Sabia had other ideas as he reignited Sreenidi Deccan’s I-League title charge.
Sreenidi Deccan were the better of the two sides in the first half as they constantly threatened Bilal Khan’s goal and with the first of those chances, Castaneda met Rilwan Hassan’s cross from the right with a powerful header to give his team the lead in the 11th minute. The Colombian should have had two more from a similar position but both his headers were saved by Bilal and the score remained 1-0 at half time.
Churchill Brothers came out fighting in the second half and created a number of chances, testing the Sreenidi Deccan defence and Albino Gomes in goal. Wingers Martin Chaves and Faisal Ali were the chief threats but it was Karim, just signed from Shillong Lajong, who equalised in the 88th minute with a clinical finish from a through ball by Stendly Fernandes.
Sreenidi Deccan looked despondent but pulled themselves back up and set about finding a winner in the six minutes of stoppage time that was added. They got just that as midfielder Lalromawia made his way into the box and clipped the ball in for Eli Sabia to head in the winner.