Nigerian striker Francis scored a brace for the Red Machines.

Added time goal from Francis Onayema helped Churchill Brothers to rescue a point as they held FC Bardez to a nail-biting 2-2 draw in the Goa Professional League match played at Duler Stadium earlier today.

A point made no difference to both the team’s standing as Bardez are on 9th place with 17 points from the same number of matches, while Churchill are at the bottom of the table with just seven points from eight matches.

Bardez who had drawn their last match against Calangute Association had three changes to their side as Kirtikesh Gadekar, Stany Braganza and Joliston Rebello found their names in the starting XI. Whereas, Churchill Brothers looked very strong from the last draw against Vasco SC as they started with I-League starters Israil Gurung, Pankaj Sona, Suraj Singh and Nigerian striker Francis Onayema in the playing XI. 

Churchill should have taken the lead in the early stage of the match but Bardez keeper David Chauhan came with two brave saves as he first denied Pankaj powerful shot from 6yards, while a minute later he made a brilliant collection to Francis’s goalbound header off Israil’s low cross.

At the other end, Bardez surprised the visitors when took the lead through Sherman Vaz who made an easy tap-in from close to Joywin Carneiro’s cross from the right to make it 1-0 for the Pink Brigade.

Pumped up by the goal, Bardez added another in the very next minutes as this time Inacio Colaco’s out-footer from the top of the box entered the bottom corner making it 2-0 for Bardez in the 19th minutes.

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The Red Machine regrouped and marched on opponents on many occasions and finally found the net in the 33rd minutes when their Nigerian strike force snatched the ball from Krishnanath Shirodkar and blasted in from the top of the box to reduce the margin for his side. However, the Nigerian striker was completely offside before collecting the ball but linesman Dharma Chodankar let it go even after notice the event clearly.

At the closing stage of the first session, Bardez keeper once again came to rescue his side as he first, blocked Pankaj’s scorching strike from inside the box, while in the 44th minutes, Francis wasted an easy chance to equalise when Alber Gonsalves set up the Nigerian with just keeper to beat but the instead of directing ball into the goal he blasted it wide from 6-yards.

The second session saw Churchill complete dominating over the rivals where they came close to scoring on numerous occasions but Francis’ aimless shooting restricted Churchill to score, while a superb defending from Viraj Naik, Jessel Carneiro, Krishnanath, Joliston and Lalbabu Matho limited Pankaj and Uttam Rai’s option.

Churchill had two best chance in the closing stage of the match but first Joywin cleared Britto PM’s cross when he was trying to find his teammate Uttam in front of empty goal, while a few minutes later, Uttam himself saw his placement missed the target by few inches.

However, in the last minutes of the added time, Francis gave the Churchill deserving point from the match when he made no mistake to head the ball home to Pankaj’s superb cross.