Wednesday, 17 April 2013

I-League: Churchill Brothers held by Dempo to entertaining draw

Current I-League leaders Churchill Brothers SC were held to a two-all draw by reigning champions Dempo SC in an I-League match at the floodlit Tilak Maidan in Vasco. Churchill Brothers moved to 48 points from 23 matches, five ahead of East Bengal with three matches remaining; while Dempo moved to 36 points from 24 matches.

Dempo looked purposeful at the start and seemed determined to spoil Churchill's early championship party. They were helped by some poor defending by the Red Machines that allowed Dempo's to go ahead as Debabrata Roy was allowed acres of space on the left and when he crossed into the goalmouth, Japanese striker Ryuji Sueoka was there to head it home for the opener in the 12th minute.

Initially Churchill Brothers looked shocked by the reversal, but soon regained ground and started to put pressure on the Dempo goal with Sunil Chhetri and Henri Antchouet a constant threat. First Chhetri forced a good save from Dempo goalkeeper Subhashish Roy Chowdhury before Henri and then substitute Belal Arezou had attempts that sailed just wide.

But Churchill Brothers equalized in the 44th minute through a perfectly curled Chhetri free-kick that beat Subhashish, but joy was shortlived as Dempo once more went ahead in the first minute of injury time, when another mistake allowed Climax Lawrence to put the ball into the net.

After the break Sunil Chhetri scored from his second free-kick from just outside the box to bring his team on level terms in the 53rd minute. Now Churchill Brothers were pushing for the winner, but Henri was the biggest culprit as he wasted two good chances.

In the end it ended two-all, surely a point won for Churchill Brothers in their quest to regain the I-League title.

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