Vishnu Chetri scored for the Army Men, while Uttam Rai scored from the spot to earn a point for the Red Machines.
Corps of Signals earned a hard-fought point as they held mighty Churchill Brothers to a 1-1 draw in the Goa Professional League match played at Utorda Stadium on Saturday afternoon.
Signals who had held by Guardian Angel in the last match had three changes to their side, as Romans MS, Lairellaktam Singh and Chand Singh found a place in the starting XI for the Army Men. Whereas Churchill coach Norbert Gonsalves made four changes to his side despite a fluent win over Vasco SC in the last match, as William Niasso, Agnelo Colaco, James Kithan and Sevelon Cardozo found their names in the playing XI for the Red Machines.
It was just eight minutes on the clock when Signals stunned the former I-League champion, as Vishnu Chetri showed some brilliant footwork inside the box and shot past Churchill keeper Kithan from close range to put his side into the lead.
Down by a goal in the early minutes, Churchill came out attacking where Umesh Harijan, Agnelo, Uttam Rai and Nicholas Fernandes raided the opponent’s citadel on many occasions, but the Army Men knew how to guard their fortress, as Kuldeep Singh along with Romans cleared every danger to keep their side safe.
They had the best chance in the 34th minute, when Nicholas easily dribbled past a few defenders and went for glory from outside the box, but his goalbound strike deflected off the defender before going out for a corner. Two minutes later, Nicholas sent a fine cross from the right to Shallum Pires, but his goalbound header was brilliantly cleared off the line by Signals defender Chand.
Churchill coach Gonsalves brought in Chesterpaul Lyngdoh to sharpen them in attack, as he added some pace to the game with swift runs on the wing, but could not make any change to the scoresheet until half-time, as Signals went into the breather with a slender lead.
Churchill started the second half on an attacking note as Nicholas tried to find Uttam in the box with another fine cross from the left flank, but Signals keeper Binu Purushothama came off his line to clear the danger. Two minutes later, Chesterpaul up came with a cross from the opposite flank to Uttam who was in a commanding position to make it all square, but the forward failed to pull the trigger as Signals defender Kuldeep cleared the danger.
Another glorious chance went in vain for the Red Machines in the 59th minute, when substitute midfielder Valerio Rodrigues sent a curling cross to Shallum Pires who headed it to the on-rushing Agnelo, but the forward failed to tap-in from yards out.
Churchill finally managed to level in the 65th minute, when Signals keeper Binu brought down Churchill striker Uttam in the box to give away a penalty. Uttam himself stepped up and sent the Signals custodian the wrong way to make it 1-1 for his side.
The Red Machines came up with another attack in the 71st minute, when a curling free-kick by Alerio was headed on target by Leny Pereira, but his attempt was brilliantly blocked by Signals keeper Binu.
Both the sides tried their best to find the winner in the last quarter with end-to-end play as Uttam, Chesterpaul, Nicholas and Vinil Poojary for Churchill, while Ankan Dawn, Harshad Thube and Chetri made several attempts, but neither team succeeded as both shared the spoils.