AGENCIES, KOLKATA: Willis Plaza’s presence of mind and Larindika Ralte’s accuracy resulted in a highly entertaining 1-1 draw between East Bengal and Churchill Brothers FC, at the YVBK stadium, Salt Lake in Kolkata, on Sunday.
Willis Plaza drew first blood for Churchill Brothers in the 68th minute, taking advantage of a miscommunication between Rakshit Dagar and Borja of East Bengal.
Lalrindika Ralte restored parity for the Red and Golds with a stellar free-kick that found the back of the net, thanks to a great header from Kassim Aidara in the 78th minute.
While East Bengal played with the same squad that drubbed Shillong Lajong FC 5-0, Churchill Brothers started with the introduction of Ivorian forward Christian Remi in place of Dawda Ceesay, who was ruled out for the season due to injury.
The game started with hosts East Bengal pressing hard from the first minute, but Churchill Brothers kept their defence compact enough to not allow the Red and Gold brigade any clear opportunities to score. The game witnessed a heavy physical display from both ends.
As the game progressed, East Bengal tried making a few attempts through long crosses and Joby Justin and Laldanmawia made the first of the many attempts when Churchill Brothers' Bhaskaran bravely saved the latter's strike.
The game, thereafter, saw both sides making numerous attempts but an alert defence on both ends ensured the score sheet remained goalless in the first 45 minutes. Churchill Brothers started making their attack visible, combining between Khalid Aucho, Christian Remi, Chesterpoul Lyngdoh, and Anthony Wolfe.
The visitors, through this combination, came close a few times but full marks to the East Bengal Defence for standing tall denying the Goan outfit any opportunity to draw first blood in the first half.
The second half began with East Bengal pressing hard, as expected, to draw the first blood, but couldn’t create enough opportunities to threaten the Churchill Brothers defence.
However, it was Churchill Brothers, who had the first attempt on the goal in the 50th minute, when a corner kick from Nicholas was beautifully headed by Novakovic. In the end, saved by Rakshit Dagar.
The game, thereafter, saw both teams playing a lot on the midfield, allowing each other no clear chance to threaten.
East Bengal, however, created most of the opportunities but a heavily laid out defence from Churchill Brothers ensured the hosts do not draw the first blood.
Churchill Brother’s efforts were soon rewarded when a miscommunication between Borja Perez and Rakshit Dagar saw Willis Plaza poach the opportunity to draw first blood in the 68th minute, putting Churchill Brothers in lead.