In a fiery encounter at the Salt Lake Stadium, Mohun Bagan were made to be content with a point after coming ever so close to victory...
Mohun Bagan and Churchill Brothers drew 2-2 at the Salt Lake Stadium in Kolkata on Friday evening when both teams were in the lead at different junctures of the game.
The hosts made two changes to the team which lost against Salgaocar with Rowilson Rodriques replacing Kingkshuk Debnath in defence and CS Sabeeth making way for the young Ram Malik.
Churchill brothers missed the services of their prolific striker Christian Lagos due to dehydration, although he was able to make the bench while Thangjam Saran Singh replaced him in the first eleven. Daniel Zeleny their new recruit also made it as a substitute.
Mohun Bagan started the game very nervously as Shilton Paul took far too much time to clear a routine back pass as Balwant Singh put pressure on him but Rowilson was able to make a timely interception.
The home side responded well as Christopher Chizoba and Yusa Katsumi were in the thick of things when they had a couple of great chances in the space of two minutes. First Chizoba played a fine ball to Katsumi who shot wide. Shortly afterwards, Katsumi missed a sitter when he had plenty of time to finish from six yards out but his tame effort was directed straight at Lalit Thapa in goal.
The game was then featured a host of misplaced passes and interceptions with both teams losing possession frequently.
The defining moment came in the 36th minute when the in-form Balwant Singh scored his 7th goal of the season with a brilliant header from a Thangjam Singh cross down the right flank.
Bagan were then gifted a goal in the very next minute when Katsumi ran into Churchill’s penalty area and put in a low cross as Alesh Sawant turned it into his own goal to level the game within a span of two minutes and that's how it remained at half-time.
The second half started with quick passes from either side as Churchill Brothers tried to keep possession. Shabana was having a very poor game and he continued to squander possession cheaply. CS Sabeeth came on replacing Zakeer Mundampara.
Ten minutes into the second half Thapa, who was excellent in the match against East Bengal, conceded a penalty when he brought down Chizoba recklessly. He was booked and was lucky not to be sent off. Chizoba easily converted the spot-kick, sending Thapa the wrong way and handing Bagan the lead.
Churchill were rattled by that goal as the game got physical. Dharmaraj Ravanan pushed Ram Malik down and he was lucky to remain on the pitch. Desperate for a goal, the visitors summoned Christian Lagos.
He made an instant impact with a thundering header that was directed goalwards but was denied by a fantastic save from Shilton Paul.
Then came a moment of brilliance when the promising Balwant unleashed an unstoppable volley from the edge of the box that levelled the tie.
There were nervy moments at the end of the game with Anthony Wolfe and Lagos coming close but the game eventually ended 2-2.