I-League: East Bengal holds Churchill Brothers to 1-1 draw

East Bengal's aim to move up the I-League standings took a hit after a 1-1 draw against Churchill Brothers on Sunday.

East Bengal equalised from a Lalrindika Ralte's free kick in the 78th minute.   -  I-League

In a hotly-contested affair that witnessed four yellow cards and several instances of heated exchanges, East Bengal held Churchill Brothers to a 1-1 draw in an I-League encounter at the Salt Lake Stadium here on Sunday.

The result was a setback to EB's title aspirations as the red-and-gold brigade managed to tie on 32 points with second-placed Real Kashmir. Churchill improved its tally to 31.

EB, which was eager to gain early ground against a depleted Churchill, soon understood the Goan team's sturdy game.

Star striker Willis Plaza and debutant Christ Remi, who replaced Dawda Ceesay, showed good coordination with the Churchill midfield to pose constant threat on the home citadel.

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The Churchill defence closed the gaps and tackled with purpose to deny any easy chance to EB.

Soon after key defender Borja was booked in the ninth minute, EB had a close shave as Chesterpoul Lyngdoh's shot sailed over the bar.

EB built its moves but met with frustration more often than not.

Laldanmawia Ralte's header off Lalrindika Ralte free-kick went just wide in the 17 minute.

I- League's leading scorer Willis Plaza opened the scoring against the run of play for Churchill Brothers.   -  I-League

 

Churchill custodian V. Baskaran's brave and clean collection prevented solitary raider Lalram Chullova's dashing march in the 20minute.

Baskaran needed medical attention due to his clash with Chullova but recovered to fashion the most spectacular save of the match.

Enrique, who was utterly frustrated to see his stunning left-footer fly over in the 31 minute, was in the thick of action as he sent in a precise cross from the goal-line on right. But Antonio Dovale's shot was magically palmed away by an air-borne Baskaran close to the break.

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Churchill defended hard and launched some penetrating counters after the switch of ends.

Rakshit Dagar brilliantly saved Nenda Novakovic's header off Nicholas Fernandes corner in the 50 minute, but had no answer when Nicholas' beautiful long ball was tapped in by Plaza in the 68 minute.

However, the 43,768 home fans burst into celebrations when Lalrindika curled it in from right to convert a free-kick 10 minutes later.

The result

East Bengal 1 (Lalrindika Ralte 78') drew with Churchill Brothers 1 (Willis Plaza 68').

 

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