JCT scored one and missed many to gift a point to a depleted but gritty Chirag United in their 11th round I-League match on Sunday. JCT thus ended their Kolkata campaign without losing a match, having earlier won against Mohun Bagan and holding East Bengal.
Chirag United stay fourth in the standings with 20 points, while Dempo leapfrogged Mahindra United and Mohun Bagan to the summit with 22 points after thrashing Sporting Clube de Goa 3-1 in Sunday’s other game.
When the home side struck early, it seemed Chirag United would run away with the game. Defender Gurwinder Singh — in an attempt to guard a charging Edmilson Marques — handled the ball outside his own box, prompting referee to award a free kick. Devdas stepped up to take an almost perfect swerving cross to the far corner of the goal where Josimar — taking advantage of his height — jumped high to nod it past Karanjit. They could have piled on the misery within five minutes but a confused Josimar — who couldn’t decide how to make the most of Edmilson’s cross from the right that cut across the goalmouth — ended up missing the goals.
On the other hand, JCT were in no mood to give up, especially midfielder Penn Orji. The Nigerian led the charge in orchestrating attacks and it was due to his efforts that the forward duo of Balwant Singh and debutant Ajay Singh had a few forays in the opposition box. But it was Orji who finally scored the equaliser, quickly making ground after pushing a through pass to Balwant. Defender Arnab Mondal failed to clear Balwant’s square pass inside the box, letting Orji dart in and slam home the equaliser.