Churchill Brothers FC salvaged a point against visiting Mohun Bagan at the Tilak Maidan in Vasco Da Gama, Goa, on Saturday, as they eked out a 1-1 draw with the help of a late Anthony Wolfe penalty which cancelled out a 39th-minute strike by Dipanda Dicka.
With this result in the 12th Hero I-League, Churchill remain in the third position on the table, with 30 points from 17 games, while Mohun Bagan too remained in the sixth position, having played a game less for their 23 points.
Both coaches, Petra Gigiu of Churchill and Khalid Jamil of Bagan, wrang in the changes at the start of the game, making three and four respectively, but still could not manage three points in three successive games.
This could be the crucial period which will keep them away from the league title in the final calculations which are now less than a month away.
The game could not reach the heights as expected and the first half saw Mohun Bagan take a lead into the break with the help of an opportunistic Dicka strike, which was his seventh in this year’s campaign.
Haitian winger Sony Norde missed a chance early and then Lybian defender Hussein Eldor hit the woodwork in the 17th minute for Churchill, before Dicka struck six minutes before the end of the half.
What could have unsettled the home side before conceding was the fact that they lost two crucial players before that due to injury. Hussein Eldor had to be replaced by Rowlinson Rodriguez and Richard Costa had to be carried away on a stretcher in tears and was replaced by Aniston Fernandes.
Sony Norde was brought down just inside the Churchill half on the left by Wayne Vaz, who otherwise has had a brilliant time of keeping the Haitian in check. From the resultant free-kick, Abinash Ruidas floated the ball in towards Henry Kisekka inside the box, who climbed to head towards the path of Dicka.
The Cameroonian seemed to have been well covered by Rowlinson, who in his attempt to clear, flummoxed his own advancing keeper Vicky Baskaran, missing with his right and faintly touching the ball with his leading left foot. As the ball advanced further, Dicka had not given up the pursuit and tapped home from close.
After the break, Churchill seemed to have regained composure and pressed on for the equaliser but despite some close chances, could not manage to find the Bagan net.
Bagan, meanwhile, had a solid punch by Omar Elhusseiny on the half-hour mark saved by Bhaskaran.
After having a good game for quite a while, central defender Eze Kingsley was adjudged to have brought down substitute Anthony Wolfe inside the box.
The Trinidadian calmy converted from the spot to beat keeper Shilton Paul and regain parity.
It remained the same till the end and both teams will rue another missed opportunity at a win, something that has characterised both of their seasons.