Riding on a hat-trick by Nigerian striker Odafa Okolie, Churchill Brothers defeated Chirag United 4-2 in their 15th round match of the ONGC I-league football championships at Yuba Bharati Krirangan in Kolkata on Sunday.
Besides Okolie (9th, 45th, 69th minutes), Naoba (38th) scored for Churchill, while Edmilson (61st, 63rd) found back of the net twice for Chirag.
The visitors, who beat Chirag 2-0 in the first stage, surged ahead in the ninth minute when Okolie found the target with a powerful shot.
Buoyed by the lead Churchill kept up the pressure and increased the margin in the 38th minute. This time Kalu placed the ball home after it rebounded off the post following a shot by Naoba.
Churchill struck again during the injury time of the first half as Okolie scored his second, capitalising on a nice pass off Felix.
While Churchill totally dominated the proceedings in the first half with Ogba Kalu and Okolie scheming most of the attacks, the beginning of second half saw Chirag starting with renewed vigour after their coach Subrata Bhattacharjee made a couple of changes in the midfield which paid good dividends as they scored two goals to bring down the margin to 3-2.
The Kolkata outfit scored their first goal in the 61st minute after a Joshimar cross was fisted out by custodian Arindam Bhattacharjee but the ball came to Edmilson who made no mistake. Edmilson scored again two minutes later.
Collecting a pass by Joshimar, Edmilson dribbled past a defender and shot home to keep their hope alive.
After the goal difference came down to minimum, Chirag went all out to restore parity, but the Churchill defence managed to stave off.
After surviving some scares, Churchill scored again in the 69th minute to consolidate their lead as Okolie completed his hat-trick deftly dribbling past Du and another Chirag defender.
Chirag's hope of fightback went away when their live-wire Edmilson was given marching order for spitting on Churchill defender L Roberts in the 80th minute.
With this victory Churchill bounced back into the reckoning and moved to the third spot with 29 points, after Dempo and Mahindra United.
Dempo and Mahindra are now occupying the first and second places with 29 and 28 points respectively, after playing 15 matches each.