East Bengal rally to hold Churchill to a 1-1 draw
Margao: Churchill Brothers allowed East Bengal to come from behind, and settl for a 1-1 draw to split points in the 17th round tie of I-League at Nehru Stadium, Fatorda, Margao, on Friday.
The draw takes East Bengal to 34 points from 17 matches. Churchill took their tally to 30 points from 16 matches.
Churchill, who needed a win to keep themselves close to table topper Dempo with 36 points, showed a lot of determination and urgency in their attack as they had a lion`s share of scoring chances, especially in the second half, but their strikers once again failed to take advantage.
Luck also eluded them as Lenny Rodrigues`s and Henri Autchoouet`s attempts at the goal hit the woodwork.
Churchill took the lead in the 7th minute when Henri Arnaud Autchouet headed home a cross from steven Dias. They could have increased the lead midway in the first half but Leny Rodrigues`s 25-yard rasping drive hit the bar.
Changing over, they again had a golden chance to increase the lead but Henri fumbled infront of the goal as his weak shot was saved by rival keeper Gurpreet Singh Sandhu.
East Bengal failed to build constructive move in the first half. Tolgay Ozbey managed to find himself free in the 53rd minute when he headed in from close after defender Thangjam Singh allowed the ball to get past him off a cross from Harmanjot Singh Khabra.
Tolgay nearly put his team ahead few minutes later when his free kick was put out by Churchill keeper Felix D`Souza.
Steven Dias, who kept the rival defense under pressure with his well-directed cross, was replaced by Jason Vales in the last ten minutes by Churchill Brothers coach Manuel Gomes and the move backfired as the visitors looked more menacing in the last ten minutes. They nearly succeeded when Tolgay Ozbey took a shot which hit the post.