Churchill squander lead

Churchill Brothers failed to regain their top position on Sunday as Prayag United twice came from behind to hold them to a 2-2 draw in the 20th round of the I-League at Duler Stadium.

With the draw, Churchill Brothers maintained the second position with 39 points from 18 matches, one point behind East Bengal who have played two matches more, occupying the top position with 40 points. Prayag United SC took their tally to 31 points from 20 matches.

Churchill midfielder Lenny Rodrigues played a pivotal role in the middle as he moved the ball around well and also covered the defence in the absence of suspended Dharmaraj Ravanan with Churchill putting pressure on the rival defence finally broke the deadlock in the 28th minute.

Rodrigues earned a free-kick after Malswamtulunga tackled him from behind and Roberto Silva took the free kick from about 30 yards which saw the ball bounce awkwardly in front of Sangram Mukherjee.

Antchouet’s attempt then came off the right post before Moghrabi found the net with a header. With central defender Bilal Najariane having quit the team and Dharamraj Ravanan suspended, Churchill failed to keep Ranti Martins, the leading scorer of the tournament, at bay. Ranti found the equaliser in the stoppage time of the first half.

Lalkamal Bhowmick’s cross was headed by Dhanachandra Singh, but the ball came off the post and fell to the feet of Ranti Martins who found the back of the net from close to have both the teams levelled 1-1 at half time.

After the change of ends, both sides showed a lot of urgency in their attack and Churchill took the lead in the 61st minute when Roberto Silva converted the penalty.
Prayag regrouped and restored parity again four minutes latter when Mohammed Rafique found the net.

In Kolkata, Sporting Clube de Goa struck twice in the second half to blank local challengers Pailan Arrows 2-0 at the Yuba Bharati Krirangan.

Kalu Ogba Nanna (63rd minute) and Victorino Fernandes (87th) found the target once each to ensure full three points for the visitors from Goa.

ONGC pip United Sikkim

A 90-minute goal from Eric Brown handed ONGC a hard-fought 1-0 win over United Sikkim at Gangtok. The loss roots the Bhaichung Bhutia co-owned team firmly into the relegation zone.

United Sikkim stay in the 13th position with just 12 points from 20 matches. ONGC have 24 points in their kitty from 19 games.

Air India beat Dempo 2-1 in another match at Pune. Prak­ash Thorat (51st) and Henry Ezeh (58th) netted for Air India, while John Menyongar pulled one back for Dempo in the 83rd minute.

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