Rangdajied United FC turned in an impressive display but had to settle for a 1-1 draw with defending champions Churchill Brothers in the I-League match at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium, in Shillong, on Thursday.
In an exciting game, Rangdajied skipper Eugeneson Lyngdoh gave the home team the lead in the 25th minute only to see Balwant Singh restore parity two minutes later.
In another I-League match in Bangalore, John Johnson and Sean Rooney scored a goal each in the first half as Bengaluru FC beat Mohammedan Sporting 2-1 at the Bangalore Football Stadium.
Joshimar D'Silva pulled one back for the visitors in the second session.
With this win, Bengaluru FC move to 11 points from four matches to stay on top of the points table while the Kolkata outfit is yet to open its account after three matches.
Back by a partisan crowd the Shillong side went on the offensive from the start and Lyngdoh's free-kick in the second minute forced goalkeeper Arindam Bhattacharya stretch full length to keep the ball out for a corner.
The ensuing corner by Timothy Lugun was again dangerously headed by David Ngaihte but deflected out by a Churchill for a corner.
Rangdajied maintained the pressure and came close to scoring again in the ninth minute, when a melee inside the box gave Restomwell a chance to have a sneak at the goal, but Arindam came to his team's rescue again.
Just two minutes later, David Ngaihte, the livewire of the team, had another go at goal when he blasted in a powerful right-footer that just missed the right post by an inch.
The match became more lively and fast, much to the delight of the crowd which came in numbers, after Rangdajied coach Santosh Kashyap appealed to them on Wednesday.
Churchill, meanwhile, threatened occasionally. On one such instance, they stitched together series of passes before Hugo took a shot from just outside the box but it was comfortably collected by goalkeeper Surjay Pariyar.
The crowd burst into joy in the 25 minute when Eugeneson blasted the ball past the Churchill keeper from inside the box to rattle the side netting. The joy, however, was shortlived as Churchill were lucky to level the scoring through Balwant two minutes later off a free-kick by Hugo.
Rangdajied made a rousing start to the second half. David Ngaihte, who was a thorn in the side for the Goan defenders, dribbled past three defenders from the left but was unlucky to find his right-footed shot go whistling past the woodwork.
Ngaihte had another go at the goal in the 52nd minute from the 25 yards, but the ball hit the right post, bounced back into play and was comfortably cleared by the Churchill defenders. Uffff.. was the only sound heard, as the crowd could just not believe what happened.
Three minutes later, Churchill got a free-kick from the danger area. Hugo’s shot past the wall dangerously dipped and hit the crossbar.
Thereafter, the Goa side created a few more scoring chances, courtesy the brilliance of Hugo and Hammed, but just couldn't beat the Rangdajied custodian.
In the 78th minute, the visitors played some brilliant one-touch passing from the centre of the field to the box but failed to do what matters the most, score.
With time running out, RUFC pressed harder and Ngaihte again came close to scoring what could have been the winner, but his left-footed shot from inside the box hit the post and went out of play.
Rangdajied now have two points from four outings and remain unbeaten at home.
Image: Action in the match between Shillong's Rangdajied United FC (blue jersey) and Goa's Churchill Brothers