East Bengal crashes out of IFA Shield

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Kolkata, Mar 3 (UNI) East Bengal crashed out of the 113th IFA Shield, playing a 1-1 draw with South Africa's Santos FC, which ensured its top position in Group A, while Churchill Brothers defeated Mohameddan Sporing 2-0 to ensure top position in Group B.

The final day of the group league stage saw the matches being shifted to district centers owing to the unavailability of the regular venue - Salt Lake Stadium.

Playing at Howrah Stadium near here, local favourite East Bengal could not muster enough sting to outdo the Durban-based team.

Needing a win with at least a three goal margin to technically keep their hopes alive for the semi-finals, East Bengal worked hard but could not find the target more than once. Santos began on a breezy note and found the lead in the seventh minute.

Gregory Michael Roelf tapped home, sprinting from the midfield to avail a cross from Clifton Davids. After conceding the goal East Bengal doubled its efforts gunning for the equaliser, which was realised in the 14th minute off a penalty.

Brazilian import Edmilson Marques scored from the spot after referee A Arjunan hauled up Santos custodian Eduan Andre Naude for bringing Edmilson down inside own box.

The home side earned a few opportunities late in the second session, but the scoreline remained unaltered as its attackers showed poor reflexes on the opponent goalmouth.

The draw helped Santos tally four points from two matches, which made it the group topper with holder Mahindra United second on three points.

Churchill Brothers playing at Barasat stadium against Mohameddan Sporting confirmed its stay on top of group B with two second-half goals against local Mohammedan Sporting.

Ogba Kalu netted the first goal in the 60th minute before Jaison Valses doubled the score in the 82nd minute.

Churchill, winning two and drawing one, remained unbeaten with seven points to its credit.

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