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Churchill Brothers 2-2 Semen Padang – Goan outfit hold Indonesian champions

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Churchill Brothers 2 (Sunil 28, Bikramjit 56) – Semen Padang 2 (Adi Bayauw 36, Rizal 45)

Churchill Brothers: Sandip Nandy; Denzil Franco, Dharmaraj Ravanan , Thangjam Saran Singh, Lamine Tamba; Sanjay Balmachu, Steven Dias, Bikramjit Singh, Bineesh Balan; Beto, Sunil Chhetri

Semen Padang: Jandia Eka Putra; Novan Setya, Hengki Ardiles, Wahyu Wijiastanto, Saepuloh Maulana; Elie Aiboy , Muhammad Rizal, Vendry Ronaldo Moro; Hendra Adi Bayauw, Muhammad Nur Iskandar, Titus Jhon Londouw Bonai

Churchill Brothers held Indonesian champions Semen Padang to a 2-2 draw at Pune’s Balewadi Sports Complex to record their first point of the 2013 AFC Cup. India captain Sunil Chhetri opened the scoring for Churchill, but goals from Hendra Adi Bayauw and Muhammad Rizal gave the visitors the lead going into the halftime break.

Young central midfielder Bikramjit Singh restored parity in the second half, but the Goan outfit couldn’t find the winner and now have just one point from two matches.

Churchill were boosted by the fact that Semen Padang were without all four of their foreigners, including top scorer Edward Junior Wilson. But the Goan side had absentees too, as Afghanistan striker Balal Arezou and Gabon forward Henri Antchouet were both unavailable, while India international Lenny Rodrigues was only fit enough to be on the bench.

Technical director Subhas Bhowmkick started with a 4-4-1-1 system, as Beto and Sunil played together for the first time for Churchill Brothers. Padang had to start with Muhammad Nur Iskandar upfront and were eager to build on their 3-1 win over Warriors FC on matchday one.

The 3 pm kickoff made it very difficult for both teams, but Churchill were keeping the ball well in the early stages, and took the lead in the 28th minute through Sunil Chhetri. The India skipper headed home a well-measured cross from right back Denzil Franco.

Semen Padang were struggling in the absence of their foreigners, as they couldn’t really get into the game, but eight minutes after Sunil’s opener they equalised through Adi Bayauw.

The midfielder produced some individual brilliance as he cut inside from the left flank and went past a couple of Churchill players before slotting past Sandip Nandy.

It looked like the teams would go into the interval all square, but a howler from Nandy gave Semen Padang the lead on the stroke of halftime. Nandy’s clearance fell straight to Rizal who scored with a lob from 35 yards.

Churchill dominated possession at the start of the second half also, and were level just twelve minutes after the restart as young Bikramjit scored with a powerful shot from just outside the box. The former Arrows midfielder has scored some crucial goals this season, but he will certainly cherish this strike the most.

As the second half progressed, both teams struggled physically due to the high temperatures in Pune, and the game was also had a big stoppage when Semeng Padang keeper Jandia Eka Putra collided with Beto and had to be taken to the hospital.

Churchill did make a couple of substitutions, but the lack of experience on their bench meant that Bhowmick couldn’t bring on quality to influence the game.

Beto, who made his return from injury in this game, could have won the game in the 90th minute, but his powerful shot was well saved by the substitute goalkeeper Fakhrurrazi.

The result leaves Padang in a good position, as they have four points from two outings, while Churchill need something special now to reach the round of 16. They next host Singapore’s Warriors FC on April 2.

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