Kolkata: Prayag United SC rode on a late strike by Shankar Oraon to stop Churchill Brothers`s winning run with a 1-1 draw in a round three match of the 5th I-League at Yuba Bharati Krirangan, on Tuesday.
Aiming for a hat-trick of wins, the Goan heavyweights took a 15th minute lead with a Lalrindika Ralte strike as the visitors put the local challengers under tremendous pressure with an all-out attack in the first-half.
But Churchill failed to add to their tally as United SC dished out an improved display after the break, resulting in a fine goal by Oraon in the 85th minute.
It was United SC`s third draw from as many matches to log three points, while Churchill Brothers have seven points after their end to a two-match winning run.
In a repeat of this year`s Durand Cup final that the Goans won via penalty shootout against the 2010 champions, Churchill started on an aggressive note with India international Steven Dias spearheading the mid-field action.
But it was a shoddy display and poor coordination by United SC defence that helped Churchill take the lead.
United SC defender Bello Rasaq failed to clear a loose ball from Henry Antchouet as Ralte took the shot which should have been cleared by goalkeeper Abhijit Mondal.
But the United SC custodian made a mess of it as he was equally clueless, handing Churchill an easy first-half lead.
Churchill looked to score more goals stepping up the attack with Henry and Opara but they were lucky not to concede more before the break.
The script did not read much different after the changeover as Churchill had the better of the ball possession against a listless United SC.
Joshimar D`Silva Martins led the United SC attack that sorely missed Yusif Yakubu who was ruled out because of an injury, while Denson Devadas and Lalkamal Bhowmick were equally ineffective from the midfield.
The burly Brazilian forward had a few chances but he could not finish well and when it seemed that the Goans were notching their hattrick of wins in the I-League, Oraon fired one in from the edge of the box.
It was a failed header by Joshimar that did the trick as the Churchill custodian Felix D`Souza failed to clear the ball that went straight to Oraon in front of the goal.
Oraon had the perfect position and he displayed a cool temperament for a clinical finish that earned a point for the local side.