New Delhi, March 23 (IANS) ONGC’s love affair with the Ambedkar Stadium continued and their unbeaten streak in the I-League at home this season stretched to nine games when they held league leaders Churchill Brothers to a 1-1 draw.
Of the 11 games played here they won six and drew four. Their only loss was against Air India.
The result pushed ONGC up by a rung to sixth in the standings, one point ahead of Mumbai FC, who have a game in hand. Churchill stay in the lead with 42 points, one ahead of East Bengal who played two games more than the Goan club.
Both the goals came in fortuitous circumstances. Churchill’s Stephen Dias technically opened the scoring in the 47th minute, though the goalbound cross was deflected in off the head of an ONGC defender in a melee.
ONGC had Churchill midfielder Roberto Mendes Silva (Betto) to thank for the equaliser as Japanese import Yusa Katsumi’s corner was guided inadvertently into his own net by the Brazilian.
Churchill’s passing went awry for most part of the game, though there were flashes of brilliance. When they looked in a position to score they were thwarted by ONGC custodian Rehenesh TP with his match-saving performance.
ONGC’s chances were few and far between as their accent was more on preventing Churchill from scoring with central defender Hassan Adeola playing a pivotal role.
But ONGC coach Santosh Kashyap has to thank Wahid Sali for the point, the right-back heroically put his body on goalline to prevent Sunil Chettri’s stinging volley from going in ten minutes from the end.
ONGC’s playmaker Katsumi, who has been the star performer right through the season, was a marked man in the first half. He shook his markers off but that did not help the ONGC cause.
If Churchill had their best chance when Henri Arnauda rounded the goalkeeper only to shoot wide, ONGC lost theirs with midfielder Jatin Bisht’s header from six yards waas not potent enough to beat Churchill keeper Sandip Nandy.