A Beto own goal cancelled out Steven Dias' strike for the away side, as Churchill Brothers stay two points ahead of East Bengal in the title race...
Churchill Brothers failed to take full advantage of East Bengal’s slip-up earlier in the day, as they were held to a 1-1 draw by ONGC, in an I-League encounter at the Dr. Ambedkar Stadium in Delhi.
Steven Dias had given the Red Machines the lead in the 47th minute, before Beto’s own goal leveled the matter for ONGC.
The hosts kept faith in the same eleven that drubbed Air India in their last league outing, while ONGC started with Eric Brown and Katsumi Yusa in a supporting role in attack.
As usual, the Oilmen lined up in an organized fashion, making it difficult for the away side to find a way through.
It was well past half an hour, before the Red Machines had a real sight at goal, with Beto’s strike forcing a great save from T.P Rehensh.
Bineesh Balan also had an opportunity to test the keeper, but his header from a Steven Dias cross went over the bar.
Neither side was able to force home an opener, as the two teams went into half-time, tied at 0-0.
The status quo lasted for only two minutes in the second half, as a mis-communication between the defenders and goalkeeper of ONGC meant that a Steven Dias attempt, which was actually was meant as a cross, went straight into the goal.
The Oilmen though, continued to persevere in their usual style under Santosh Kashyap, and forced home a equalizer, when Beto put the ball into the back of his own net in the 60th minute.
Sunil Chhetri almost restored his side’s lead in the 75th minute, when his brilliant half-volley was cleared off the line by an alert defender of the home side.
Muritala Ali then came off the bench, and almost got a winner for a second game running, when he almost put the ball past Sandip Nandy, who was beaten on his near post, but saw the ball go just wide.
Sunil Chhetri and Henri Antchouet then had opportunities to win the game for Mariano Dias’ side, but neither were able to hit the target, with the Gabonese striker in particular, guilty of failing to score, when set-up brilliantly by Chhetri, who crossed for his strike partner.
Eventually the referee blew the final whistle, meaning the two sides shared the spoils, which means that Churchill move two points clear of East Bengal in the title race, with a game in hand.
ONGC meanwhile have 28 points from 21 games.
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