Mohammedan Sporting and Churchill Brothers play out goalless draw

Airtel i-League 2013-14
Salt Lake Stadium, Kolkata
Mohammedan Sporting 0-0 Churchill Brothers

Mohammedan Sporting and Churchill Brothers played out a goalless draw in the round ten encounter of the Airtel I-League at the Salt Lake Stadium on Saturday afternoon.

The result took Mohammedan Sporting’s points tally to 11 from nine matches while I-League holders Churchill Brothers remain winless despite having played the same number of games with just four points.

The Goan outfit were desperate for maximum points and boosted by the signing of Syrian striker Yasser Shahen. The 24-year-old almost had a dream debut as he was found unmarked inside the Mohammedan box by Binessh Balan in the seventh minute but the Syrian’s effort was brilliantly saved by Luis Barreto.

Mohammedan Sporting's Penn Orji gets past Churchill Brothers Defender,
Picture Courtesy:
Churchill Brothers technical director Subhash Bhowmick was forced to make an early substitution as defender Naveen Kumar came off with an injury and was replaced by Sanjay Balmuchu.

That stoppage in play allowed Mohammedan Sporting to finally come to life as the hosts started dominating possession. But they were struggling to test Churchill Brothers custodian Arindam Bhattacharya while at the other end Collin Abranches had to make a goal-line clearance to deny Alesh Sawant.

As the half progressed the three foreign attackers of Mohammedan Sporting – Josimar, Tolgay Ozbey and Pen Orji – started combing well but the final ball and finish was missing as the teams went into the break all square.

Bhowmick made a positive change at the interval as he brought on striker Balwant Singh in place of midfielder Micky Fernandes but it was Churchill Brothers who looked more likely to open the scoring in the second half.

The home side were dominating proceedings but could only manage to create half chances as Churchill Brothers defended solidly. Shahen continued to look dangerous at the other end but didn’t get the adequate support or service.

Mohammedan Sporting coach Moshood Bola Abdulaziz also made a few substitutions to change the complexion of the game with substitute Ajay Singh having to come off due to injury only a few minutes after replacing Josimar.

Neither side could create any meaningful opportunity in the final quarter of the game but Mohammedan Sporting’s Penn Orji created a few problems for the Churchill Brothers backline.

In the end both sides settled for a point and have local derbies to look forward to next as Mohammedan Sporting will face Mohun Bagan while Churchill Brothers entertain Sporting Clube.
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