JCT, Churchill Brothers share honours

Gurgaon: Churchill Brothers rode on Okolie Odafe’s 65th minute strike to salvage a 1-1 draw against JCT in their second round I-League match at the Tao Devi Lal Stadium here on Tuesday.

JCT, after the shocking defeat against HAL in their opening fixture, looked on course to register their first win after Balwant Singh put them in lead with a 37th minute strike.

Odafe, however, had other ideas and struck the equalizer 19 minutes into the second half.

The Punjab outfit looked positive from the word go and the aggressive approach paid off when Balwant headed in Amandeeep Singh’s assist from the right. It was Saran Singh who did the spadework and gave the ball to Amandeep.

Odafe, who helped his team come from behind in their opening fixture against defending champions Dempo, did a repeat when he headed in a corner. The ball hit the crossbar on its way to the post.

Much before that, in the first half, JCT skipper Daljit Singh lost possession in the midfield and that nearly proved disastrous for his team, but a diving Pawan Kumar under the bar stretched full length to cover Bineesh Balan’s attempt.

In his quest to find the equaliser, Churchill Brothers coach Vincent Subramaniam tried to rev up the midfield, bringing in Charan Rai in place of Chandam Chitra Singh, but the move did not yield the desired result as JCT went to the lemon break with their lead intact.

But fortune favoured the Goans after the change of ends with Odafe scoring the much-needed goal. The Nigerian, in fact, may have given his team its first win of the league but his 82nd minute attempt, after being fed from the centre, went over the bar.

JCT too had a chance in the second half, but the enterprising Omolaja Kareem’s shot touched Churchill goalkeeper Lalit Thapa before flying over after hitting the post.

While JCT coach Parminder Singh was satisfied with the result, Subramaniam was disappointed.

“I am disappointed with the result. Three points lost. We need to beef up the attack. There was lot of pressure on Odafe but he missed quite a few chances. In the I-League, if you get two-three chances you need to score once or twice otherwise you lose,” said Subramaniam.

His counterpart Parminder said: “After the loss in the first match we played well against a strong team.”

It was Churchill’s second consecutive draw in the league, after being held 1-1 by Dempo, while JCT managed a point after the surprise defeat against newly promoted HAL.


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