Sreenidi Deccan held by late Churchill Brothers fightback

24th March, Hyderabad: Sreenidi Deccan Football Club suffered a setback in their quest for the I-League championship as they were held to a 2-2 draw by Churchill Brothers here at the Deccan Arena in a Matchweek 20 clash. The Deccan Warriors were in a comfortable lead at half time but late goals from Stendly Fernandes and Lamgoulen, the former helped by a mistake from Sreenidi Deccan goalkeeper Albino Gomes, helped the Red Machines steal a point and derail the hosts’ title challenge.

Sreenidi Deccan made a quick start as forward William Alves opened the scoring in the 5th minute after latching on to a ball from Lalromawia from the right. Mizo midfielder Lalromawia then got on the scoresheet himself five minutes before half time as he headed in Rilwan Hassan’s cross from close range. The 2-0 scoreline was a fair reflection of the hosts’ control of the game but the second half had surprises in store.

The Deccan Warriors started the second half on the front foot like they had ended the first but their failure to convert any chances and put the game beyond doubt came back to haunt them. In the 82nd minute, Stendly drove forward and fired a speculative effort at goal which spilled from Albino’s hands into the back of the net. Seven minutes later, right-back Lamgoulen got forward after the referee failed to award a foul to Sreenidi Deccan on the halfway line and lashed home into the top corner to equalise.

Sreenidi Deccan remain in second place with 40 points from 20 matches, eight points behind league leaders Mohammedan SC who have 48 from 21 matches. The Deccan Warriors will host Rajasthan United on March 31 in their next I-League game.