I-League: Chennai City salvages a point against Churchill Brothers

The result sees Churchill inch one place up to eighth (six points) on goal difference, while Chennai remains seventh in the table with equal points.

The complexion of the match changed in a matter of 120 seconds as Brandon broke the deadlock, in the 63rd minute, with a superb free-kick.   -  M.Vedhan

Chennai City and Churchill Brothers failed to take their chances as the teams settled for a 1-1 draw, here at the Jawaharlal Nehru stadium on Tuesday.

Churchill, bottom of the table with five points, didn’t show any signs of visible weakness as it started in the front foot.

The visiting team’s attack had pace and trickery with Brandon Fernandes and Ansumana Kromah operating as the fulcrum. Chennai was content on sitting back and absorbing the opposition’s threat.

Churchill almost went ahead in the ninth minute when Fernandes smacked a Cristiano Ronaldo-esque free-kick from 30-yards out, which dipped in front of the goalkeeper Meloli. He reacted late, but somehow parried it away for a corner.

In the 22nd minute, Churchill put the ball in the back of the net after a howler from the host custodian exposed an open net for Kromah to tap in. Unfortunately for Churchill, striker Anthony Wolfe, who was at the goalmouth as the ball passed him, was judged to have interfered with play and was ruled to be in an offside position.

Chennai did find its feet with Charles de Souza being the main threat for Churchill. In the 24th minute, the Brazilian striker freed Denson Devadas on the left side of the penalty area, and he whipped in a fierce low cross across the goal for Edwin. His outstretched right leg, however, agonisingly missed the ball with the goal at his mercy.

In the second half, there was more of the same as the teams went in search of the elusive goal. However, the complexion of the match changed in a matter of 120 seconds as Brandon broke the deadlock, in the 63rd minute, with a superb free-kick that beat the keeper to his right.

The home side immediately responded as Marcos Vinicius, who had come on as a substitute only a few minutes earlier, fed his compatriot Charles and the Brazilian side-footed his shot past the goalkeeper in a crowded penalty box.

From there on, Churchill held a firm grip on the game and should have taken all three points as Brandon and Kromah were a constant menace for the home side’s defence, with skipper Dharamaraj Ravanan struggling to keep up with their pace.

However, Chennai held on and the game ended 1-1. The result sees Churchill inch two places up to eighth (six points) on goal difference, while Chennai remains seventh in the table with equal points.