Dempo Sports Club and Churchill Brothers tugged each other’s chances of winning the Goa Football Association (GFA) Professional League after both shared points at the Nagao Panchayat ground in Verna on Friday.
Churchill Brothers took the lead when they dominated the first session of play and Dempo SC equalised in the second, a time when they had control of the game in momentary phases. Churchill enjoyed domination in the first fifteen minutes and in this time could have scored twice.
Dempo SC started the first half hesitantly, preferring to wait for their rivals to err instead of creating their own initiatives. Dempo SC got their first good look at the Churchill goal in the 22nd minute through a corner. The short corner attempt, however, did not disturb the Churchill defence.
Churchill Brothers got their second good chance in the 26th minute when they were awarded a free kick on top of the Dempo SC box. Lamgoulen Gou floated the ball to unmarked Suresh Meitei who could not direct his header into the goal.
Clencio Pinto, who starred for Churchill Brothers in their last game, was at the thick of action this evening. Time and again he weaved his way into the Dempo SC box but failed to get past Shallum and captain Mathew Gonsalves.
Dempo SC created their first opportunity at the half hour mark when Beevan D’Mello combined with Desmon Pereira to lay the ball for Rajat Harijan on a platter – only for the last named to balloon over.
Churchill Brothers took the lead in the 39th minute when Wendell Coelho ran down the left flank and sent in a crisp cross into the Dempo SC box which was nicely met by Clencio who tapped in for the first goal of the evening.
Churchill Brothers led by a goal during the lemon break.
Dempo SC started the second half with more purpose and the introduction of Suraj Hadkonkar gave a different dimension to the Dempo SC thrust forward. With Suraj in, Dempo SC saw more of the ball in the midfield and opened their game on the flanks.
Dempo SC were awarded a free kick on top of the box for a handball during a raid into the Churchill half in the second session. Suraj, who had scored from a free kick in the last match, stepped up again and this time directed the ball in for the equaliser.
Churchill Brothers brought in Israil Gurung and Vinil Poojary in their quest for the lead again and the duo did trouble the Dempo SC game plan. Israil fed Mapuia in the 75th minute but the last named failed to direct the ball in.
Dempo SC hit back through Suraj in the 78th minute but this time, Churchill goalkeeper Sukhadev Patil rose to the occasion.
Israil and Vinil tried to raise the tempo in the last minutes but the Dempo lads held on with both teams finishing sharing a point.