| Arindam |
Calcutta: McDowell Mohun Bagan held Churchill Brothers to a goalless draw in a Group B match at Siliguri on Thursday.
In another match of the group, Mohammedan Sporting continued from where they had left in the qualifiers to down Durand Cup champions Air India by a lone goal. Mohammed Muktar scored the winner in the 54th minute.
Churchill played attacking football from the outset and created numerous chances from the outset. That Bagan did not concede a goal was only because of brilliant goalkeeping from Arindam Bhattacharya. He made three spectacular saves to deny Churchill a win.
The Goa-based side would also count themselves unlucky after being disallowed a goal in the 79th minute.
Churchill’s Nigerian striker Henry Autchouet was in the thick of action for most period in the match. Henry’s two attempts in the 10th and 26th minutes were brilliantly blocked by Arindam.
Bagan, too, had their fair share of chances in the first half. The Nigerian striker Okolie Odafe muffed a chance in the 27th minute, shooting it over the bar. Bagan’s best chance came in the 30th minute when Odafe released midfielder Jewel Raja with nice flick. But Jewel saw his sharp right-footer coming off the crosspiece.
Churchill continued to torment the Bagan defence with Tomba Singh playing a pivotal role. In the 79th minute, Tomba’s freekick found the back of the net but referee Santosh Kumar pulled up Churchill striker Beto for infringement and disallowed the goal.
In the other match, Mohammedan Sporting could have won by a bigger margin but for the sequences of misses that kept their winning margin to minimum.
A barren first half was all about the misses committed by the Mohammedan Sporting strikers.