The much anticipated inaugural match of the third edition of the ONGC I-league played at the Cooperage ground here on Thursday between defending champions Musli Power Churchill Brothers and local outfit Mahindra United ended in a 1-1 draw.
Both the sides got their chances but they were unable to captilaise them at crucial junctures. It was a day of debutantes at the Cooperage as the Serbian midfielder Svetozar Mijin gave the local red devils the lead in the 26th minute.
Seven minutes later it was the Japanese Dan Ito who scored the equaliser for the Goan outfit. Mahindra United defenders couldn’t afford to taka a breather as the Churchill forward kept the pressure on them through.
Churchill captain Odafe Onyeka Okolie was marked well by Ravanan Dharmaraj who was later adjudged the man of the match. In the ninth minute of the match missed the post by a whisker.
In the 25th minute Mohammad Rafi missed a chance to score as Churchill goalkeeper Arimdam Bhatttacharya tried to stop the ball but a delay in clearing the ball from the resultant corner saw Mahindra United’s Svetozar Mijin in his very first appearance.
Churchill equalized in the 33rd minute, with Naoba Singh’s cross to Dan Ito who took advantage of the confusion between Denzil Franco and Steven Dias.
In the second half both the teams came in with a goal each to their teams. In the 57th minute Mahindra United conceded a free-kick at the edge of the box which Odafa was unable to get his timing right.
Churchill Brothers Felix Chimaokwu got an open chance in the 60th minute but he couldn’t execute the move and the ball was deflected off Ravanan for a corner, which resulted in another chance missed by the visitors.
Churchill Brothers were reduced to ten men army in the 65 th minute of the match after goalkeeper Arindam was handed a read card as he handled the ball outside the box to stop Mahindra’s Mohammad Rafi from scoring.
Churchill coach Carlos Pereira had no option but he sent goalkeeper Lalit Thapa in place of Khemthang Paite. For Mahindra Thoi Singh came in the 72nd minute and increased the pace of the game.
Churchill Brothers Felix had the chance to finish off the game late on but the Mahindra goalkeeper Subhasish Chowdhury denied them the goal.
Mahindra coach David Booth was very happy about the teams performance and feels that his boys did play well against the defending champions despite his team being written off before the start of the match.
Goal scorers: Svetozar Mijin (26th min), Dan Ito (33rd min)
ONGC I League : Fixtures for Saturday,3rd Oct 2009 :
Goa:Salgaocar SC Vs Viva Kerala
Mumbai:Mumbai FC Vs Dempo SC
Pune: Pune FC Vs Kingfisher East Bengal Live on Zee Sports from 6.30 PM
Posted on : Thursday October 01, 2009