Cuttack [India]: Kingfisher East Bengal opened their Hero Federation Cup campaign with a 1-1 draw against Churchill Brothers here at the Barabati Stadium in Cuttack, Odisha today.
In a tightly contested encounter, the Red and Golds took the lead in the 65th minute through Wedson Anselme but Ghanefo Kromah’s 80th minute equalizer spoiled the party for Kingfisher East Bengal as both teams shared the spoils of battle at full-time.
In a first half, which saw end-to-end action, both teams tried to take advantage in the early minutes by bettering the other. However, neither came on top at half time. Kingfisher East Bengal fostered the first goal scoring chance of the match in the 12th minute Plaza broke free of his defensive shackles but failed to convert from close range.
Churchill Brothers sitting deep and playing on counters reverted in the 20th minute with a chance of their own. Anthony Wolfe latched onto a lobbed through ball, but Subhashish came off his lines before Wolfe could release the shot inside the box.
The end-to-end action culminated in the 32nd minute. First, Churchill Brother’s Liberian striker Kromah failed to add venom to his shot, resulting in an easy save. And then, Plaza for Kingfisher East Bengal came close to give the Red and Golds the lead.
Although Kingfisher East Bengal dominated the first half with 11 shots as compared to Churchill Brother’s 4, both teams went into the tunnel on level pegging.
Substitute Pankaj Sona was handed a brilliant opportunity to open the goal scoring charts for Churchill Brothers but the forward failed to check his run and was caught offside in the 51st minute. Four minutes later, Brandon fluffed his shot from inside the box to add to Churchill’s attacking woes.
In the 65th minute, Wedson Anselme broke the deadlock after he latched onto a through ball from Bikash Jairu and brushed off three opposition defenders before side footing the ball into the back of the net to give Kingfisher East Bengal the lead.
Although Churchill Brothers fought valiantly, the Goan outfit missed the edge in their attacking sword against a solid and experienced Kingfisher East Bengal. But in the 80th minute, callous defending by Kingfisher East Bengal led Churchill Brothers to equalize proceedings when Kromah capitalized on a cut back pass and scored without any pressure.
The full-time scoreline read 1-1 as both teams shared one point each. (ANI)