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Churchill hold Mahindra United
March 31, 2007 21:19 IST
Custodian Vinay Singh's fine effort under the bar enabled Churchill Brothers hold defending champions Mahindra United goalless in a 11th ONGC National Football league match, at the Nehru stadium in Margao, Goa, in Saturday.
Mahindra, who are atop the table, took their tally to 22 points from 11 matches. Churchill Brothers, who drew their seventh match, have 13 points from as many matches and moved to fifth place.
Mahindra, who rested defender Sur Kumar and striker Yusif Yakubu, had a major share of the exchanges in the first-half and had the first look at goal in the 15th minute but Abhishedk Yadav wasted the chance, shooting out off a Steven Dias pass.
Dias, who threatened the rival defense with measured crosses from the right, almost scored in the 28th minute but his shot off a free-kick was saved by a diving Vinay, who parried the ball, which then deflected off the post and went out.
Mahindra put pressure on the rival defense towards the end of the first-half and created two chances but Abhishek Yadav first failed to beat Vinay, and later headed out from close a cross by Venkatesh.
Churchill, who concentrated more on defending their goal slowly got into a rhythm and had two scoring opportunities but George Ekeh first saw his shot being parried by custodian Sandip Nandy and later his shot deflected off the keeper's leg and ricocheted to Odafe Okolie, who sent it over.
Vinay again came to Churchill's rescue after the change of ends as he made two valiant saves off shots from Abhishek Yadav and Pomeyie Mensah.
Churchill, who matched their rivals evenly with striker George Ekeh and Odafe Okolie combining to nicety, nearly scored in the 66th minute but Odafe's long ranger was blocked by Nandy. The ball popped up and defender N S Manju managed to clear it before Churchill's Raju D could get to it with the keeper out of his position.
With the match heading for a draw, Mahindra made a last-ditch effort to break the deadlock, but missed a glorious chance in injury time, substitute Manjit Singh shooting over following a cross from Sushant Mathew.