New Delhi:Churchill Brothers on Thursday advanced to the semi-finals of the 122nd edition of the Durand Cup football tournament after a 1-1 draw against group qualifier Assam Rifles at the Ambedkar Stadium.
Churchill now tops its Group 'A' with four points. Assam Rifles, who dominated most part of the first half, scored in the 55th minute through striker Meikingai Kamei when midfielder Ajit Singh put the ball in the clear to deliver his side the lead.
However, Churchill drew parity in the 71st minute with substitute midfielder Charan Rai converting a fine pass from the right by Nascimento Silveira with his left foot.
Earlier in the match, Assam Rifles got their first chance in the 20th minute when captain Omana Kuttan PR made a quick move from the left flank and shot from a close range but an alert Churchill goalkeeper Arindam Bhattarcharya dived quickly to his right to get hold of the ball.
After 12th minutes, Assam Rifles got another chance to take the lead but Akum Ao failed to convert a low right footer with only Churchill's goalkeeper to beat.
Churchill then got its act together and captain Odafe Onkeya Okolie put on test the inexperienced defence of the Assam Rifles when he made a quick move from left and hit from just outside the box, but his shot missed the nets by a whisker.
After the breather, both teams played an attacking brand of football, indulging in long shots and passes but didn't find the nets.
Assam Rifles drew first blood in the 55th minute and after sometime again came close to double their lead, when Akum Ao, beating the defence of Churchill, fired from a close range but his shot hit the post and bounced back to play.
Churchill came in the thick of the action immediately and in the 71st minute midfielder Rai equalised the lead on a fine pass by Silveira.