Churchill Brothers SC and Mohun Bagan AC were left without a win after playing a goalless draw in their second round clash of the I-League at Duler Stadium, Mapusa, on Saturday.
Churchill and Bagan were desperate to turn things around after setbacks in the opening matches but neither team provided any clue that they were back on track. Defending champions Churchill lost their opening match against Salgaocar FC while Bagan had to settle for a draw against newcomers Bengaluru FC.
Churchill Brothers were at full strength for their second round clash against Mohun Bagan but there seemed to be no marked improvements. Strikers Henri Antchouet (Gabon) and Ahmad Al Kaddour (Syria) started upfront but were starved for possession.
Even Mohun Bagan striker Harrison Muranda did hardly anything of note apart from a stray long ranger.
It were the visitors, though, who took Churchill Brothers by surprise with some good build-ups although with Japanese midfielder Katsumi Yusa unwilling to release the ball quickly, Muranda and the young Ram Malik were left to watch. Bagan’s first chance came early in the game when Denson Devadas’s freekick saw Wahid Sali head from a crowded goalmouth but the ball sailed inches past the crossbar.
At the other end, there was nothing of note that was happening. Even when Portuguese midfielder Hugo Machado picked out the strikers with long balls, goalkeeper Sandip Nandy was alert under the Bagan goal to avert the danger. Ahmad, infact, had a chance but could not get a touch before Sandip could reach the ball.
In the second session, Churchill started strongly. The opening minutes of the second half saw Henri and Hugo go close in quick succession but again it were Mohun Bagan who had the best chance. Katsumi released substitute striker Sabeeth Sathyan with a nice ball but the striker failed to beat Churchill goalkeeper Arindam Bhattacharya in a one-on-one situation.
Towards the later stages of the match, Churchill did seem eager to find the mark but their strikers were way of the mark.
(Report & Picture courtesy AIFF Media)