Willis Plaza topped the scoring charts with a fifth-minute strike for Churchill Brothers as the Goan side held Gokulam Kerala to a 1-1 draw at the EMS Stadium in Kozhikode on Friday.
— Hero I-League (@ILeagueOfficial) November 30, 2018
Plaza, who scored twice and had a goal cancelled in Churchill’s 3-0 victory against Mohun Bagan in their last encounter, now leads the golden boot run with five goals. The Trinidad and Tobago needed just the same number of minutes to break the deadlock against Gokulam.
A poor defensive header from Mohammad Rashid found Lamgoulen Hangshing, who flicked the ball towards Plaza to finish and put the visitors ahead.
The Trinidad and Tobago striker had a great opportunity to double the lead at the half-hour mark when Dawda Ceesay outfoxed Abhishek Das on the left flank and found Plaza with a cross, who disappointingly hit the side-netting.
Minutes later, Gokulam had their first opportunity of the game after Rajesh released Arjun Jayaraj on the Churchill penalty box with a perfectly weighted through-ball but Richard Costa was at hand to thwart the danger with a last-ditch tackle.
That move although could not fetch the goal, helped the home side take control of the game and soon Gokulam were back at the match with a Jayaraj equaliser in the 36th minute.
After troubling the Churchill defence with his constant runs into the box, Arjun Jayaraj netted the equaliser when Christian Sabah found him with a defence-splitting ball from the middle after receiving it from a Shibinraj throw.
The second half after a breathtaking first looked sluggish with both teams playing a waiting a game. Plaza was still a threat for Gokulam’s defence but failed to influence the scoreline, despite often finding himself with ample time and space in front of goal.
But the best opportunity of the evening fell to substitute Nicholas Fernandes, who found himself in front of the goal after Ceesay had picked him with a low cross. But he failed to tap-in from five-meters distance.