Margao: A last minute stoppage time strike by Roberto Silva saved Churchill Brothers the blushes as they salvage a 1-1 draw against HAL in the 20th round of the I-League at Nehru Stadium, Fatorda on Saturday.
HAL surprised the opponents as they capitalised the lapse by defender Gouramangi Moirangthem, who failed to clear the ball inside the box for Hamza tp snatch it and fired a stiff grounder that found the back of the net in the eighth minute.
Stunned by the early goal, Churchill Brothers regrouped and launched a series of attacks, even as the visitors made a desperate attempt to keep their citadel clean in the first half.
Churchill had a couple of clear chances to equalise but Binesh Balan and Roberto failed to score.
Luck also did not shine on the home team as Binesh Balan`s attempt at the goal hit the bar and went out.
The visitors, who were pushed into their own half by Churchill Brothers throughout the match, came with a counter move in the dying minutes of the first half but Vinod Kumar failed to beat the keeper, who blocked his weak attempt at the goal after a move between R C Prakash and Hamza.
Churchill Brothers continued to waste chances galore with HAL keeper Pramod coming to his side`s rescue, as he made some daring saves to stop Henri and Roberto from scoring.
Desperate to find the equaliser, Churchill pressed more men upfront, as he brought in Mohammed Rafi in place of Steven Dias, but failed to find the elusive goal even as Raju Yumnam missed an open chance in front of the goal as he shot out.
Roberto Silva finally found the equaliser in the dying minute of the stoppage time, when he found himself free on top of the box, essayed a firm shot off a pass from Rafi, which sailed into the far corner of the net to help his team gain a vital point.
With Saturday’s draw, Churchill Brothers and East Bengal have collected 34 points from 20 matches. But on the head on count, Churchill moved to third place displacing East Bengal to fourth place.
While the Bangalore team remained at the bottom with seven points from 20 matches.