CUTTACK : Churchill Brothers held East Bengal to a 1-1 draw in the opening match of the Federation Cup football tournament here on Sunday. Wedson Anselme put East Bengal in the lead in the 65th minute while Ansumana Kromah (80th minute) found the equaliser for Churchill Brothers in the Group A match at the Barabati Stadium. The first half saw end-to-end action but poor finishing by both teams ensured that the score remained goalless at half time.
East Bengal created the first scoring chance in the 12th minute when Wilis Plaza broke free of his defensive shackles but failed to convert from close range.
Churchill Brothers preferred to sit deep and rely on counter-attacks. They created a chance of their own in the 20th minute when striker Anthony Wolfe latched onto a lobbed through ball. But East Bengal goalkeeper Subhashish Roy Chowdhury came off his line to avert the danger.
Plaza created another chance for East Bengal when he did well to get past the Goans' defence and found space for himself inside the Churchill penalty box. But his poorly taken shot flew over the bar.
Both sets of forward continued to waste chances galore before Wedson broke the deadlock midway through the second half.
The Haiti international latched onto a through ball from Bikash Jairu and brushed off three Churchill defenders before side footing the ball into the back of the net to give East Bengal the lead.
But East Bengal's lead did not last long as they paid the price for some poor defending.
Churchill Brothers midfielder Pankaj Sona sent in a cross into the East Bengal penalty box from the left flank. The East Bengal defenders did not pick up the ball and a Churchill's attacking midfielder Brandon Fernandes slid in a clever back pass for Kromah who was in the perfect position.
The Liberian made no mistake to slot the ball home to set up an exciting last few minutes.
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