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 April 5, 2002 | 1925 IST

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Churchill beat JCT,
move to the top

Title aspirants Zee Churchill regained their position atop the National Football League table after easily beating JCT Mills, Phagwara, 2-0 in a 20th round match at the Nehru stadium, in Margao, Goa, on Friday.

Both the goals came in the first half.

Yakubu Yusif opened the scoring in the 32nd minute and took his goal tally to 17 in the tournament, while defender Osumanu Husseni netted the other goal in the 38th minute.

Churchill could have romped home by a much bigger margin had JCT goalkeeper Arvind Kumar not brought off some fine fine saves, especially in the first half.

Churchill now have 39 points, from 12 wins, five draws and three defeats after 20 outings. Kolkata giants Mohun Bagan are in second place with 38 points, followed by Vasco with 37 points. However, Bagan have played only 19 matches.

JCT are placed 10th with 15 points.

Churchill, who needed an outright win, played their hearts out today and got off to an aggressive start with their forwards and mid-fielders constantly threatening the JCT goal. Yakubu tested the rival custodian as early as in the 14th minute with a powerpacked shot but Arvind Kumar smartly gathered the ball.

The home team drew the first blood in the 32nd minute of the first half when Yakubu's header, off a floater by Abdul Ganiyu Saley, found the net.

Churchill should have increased their lead in the 37th minute when Yakubu, after dodging past a defender, unleashed a rasping shot, but it was brilliantly saved by Kumar.

A minute later, Husseni consolidated their lead with a fine header, following a flag-kick, taken by Noel Wilson from the right.

National Football League - the complete coverage