Churchill Brothers and Real Kashmir drew 1-1 in an I-League encounter at the Tilak Maidan in Vasco Da Gama, Goa.
A win for either would have taken them to the top of the table but the Red Machines from Goa and the Snow Leopards from Kashmir remain where they were at the beginning of the game – in second and third spots respectively.
Both the goals came in the second half of the game. Farhan Ganie put the visitors ahead in the 55th minute while the league’s top scorer Willis Plaza got the equaliser in the 69th minute for the hosts. Churchill did finish the stronger of the two teams as the visitors were clearly hampered by the absence of the physical presence of Ivorian striker Gnohre Krizo upfront.
After a scrappy first 20 mins, Mason Robertson had the first clear look at goal when Farhan Ganie found him in an advantageous position inside the box with a long ball floated across from just inside the Churchill half. Mason’s full volley was weak though, and lacked placement and was collected comfortably by James Kithan in the Churchill goal.
Plaza, the league’s top scorer with 15 goals to his name, did not get a clear sight at goal as the teams went into half-time tied goalless.
Churchill seemed to have shed their cautious approach at the beginning of the second half and pressed hard from the get-go. Kashmir fought back and Ganie got them the lead in the 55th minute, when his long-range grounder from outside the Churchill box on the second attempt, beat a maze of legs and wrong-footed Kithan, before going in from under his hands.
The goal charged up the home team and Willis Plaza got them back in the 69th minute with his 16th strike of the league.
It was Dawda Cessay’s corner which was initially cleared by the Kashmir defence, but only till Nicholas Fernandes who had just come in as a substitute, in place of Chesterpaul Lyngdoh. The midfielder found Plaza inside the box from the left flank with a targetted cross.
The Trinidadian Plaza, who had gotten away from his marker, trapped and controlled well, before nailing a left-footer past Bilal in the Kashmir goal. Both teams now trail leaders Chennai by one point, with their 29 points from 15 games also meaning that Chennai have a game in hand.
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