Margao: Churchill Brothers` efforts to
regain the second spot in the I-League points table got a jolt
as East Bengal came from behind to hold Churchill Brothers to
a 2-2 draw at the Nehru Stadium here on Sunday.
Churchill, who led 1-0 at halftime, scored through Odafe
Okolie (37th) and Felix Chimaokwu (56th) while East Bengal
fought in the second half and scored through Mehtab Hossain
(58th) and Sanju Pradhan (68th) to restore parity.
Thus the hosts, who needed a win to move to second place
remained on third place with 39 points from 25 matches, one
point behind second placed Pune FC.
East Bengal collected 30 points from as many matches.
The visitors looked the better side in both the halves,
were more organised in the first half and created ample
scoring chances but lacked the finishing touches.
Alvito D`Cunha had a glorious chance to put East Bengal
ahead in the 15th minute when he was set up by Beingaichho
Bekhokhei with a through pass but he saw his effort hit the
Few minutes later Churchill`s keeper Arindam Bhattacharya
made a diving save to put the ball out of danger off Syed
Rahim Nabi header.
Churchill, who rarely?troubled the rival defense went
ahead in the 37th minute.
Reisangmi Vashum worked his way on the right and on
entering the box relayed the ball to Odafe Okolie who got the
better off his marker and essayed a left footer that found the
Few minutes later, Odafe?Okolie could have increased the
lead but his effort went off the mark from inside the box.
Ten minutes into the second half, Churchill Brothers
citadel had a close shave but alert keeper Arindam came to his
side`s rescue to put out Nabi header off a Kabra?pass.
Churchill celebrated it with a goal off a penalty,
awarded when Kalu Nnna was brought down by keeper Gurpreet
Singh inside the box, which Felix Chimaokwu converted.
East Bengal made two quick changes bringing in Sanju
Pradhan and Baichung Bhutia in place of Alvito D`Cunha and
Budiram Tudu and the move paid off as they scored two quick
goals to restore parity.
Syed Rahim Nabi from the right relayed the ball to Mehtab
Hossain who from the top of the box beat keeper Arindam in the
East Bengal attacked with more vigour after the goal as
they came with repeated forays and earned a penalty in the
68th minute when Raju Yumnam brought down Saikat Saha Roy
inside the box as he was moving with the ball. Pradhan who
took the kick converted it.
Churchill Brothers pressed hard to find the winner but
failed to get the elusive goal.