East Bengal Club and Mohun Bagan AC played out a 1-1 draw at the Saltlake Stadium, Kolkata in a rescheduled Round 2 Hero I-League fixture on Tuesday evening.
Pierre Boya put his side into the lead in the 24th minute which was soon cancelled out by Ranti Martins seven minutes later.
Armando Colaco made two changes to his side which started the last game against Bharat FC as he introduced Abhijit Mondal and Milan Susak to replace Subhasish Roy Chowdhury and Arnab Mondal respectively.
Meanwhile, Pierre Boya was handed a start by Sanjoy Sen as the Cameroonian paired upfront with Sony Norde.
East Bengal had a glorious chance to break the deadlock inside 60 seconds when Ranti Martins evaded a last ditch tackle by Kingshuk Debnath to run clear on goal, but his attempted chip was kept out by Debjit Majumder.
Thereafter, it was Bagan who had an opportunity to take the lead. Balwant Singh found Katsumi Yusa in space and the Japanese pulled it back for Sony Norde whose curling effort went into the orbit in the eighth minute.
Harmanjot Khabra was played in front of the box by Mehtab Hossain, however, the East Bengal skipper skied his shot.
Midway through the first half, Pierre Boya saw his header from a Yusa cross being saved by Mondal in goal with fantastic reflex.
However, he soon made amends in the 24th minute as he headed in from a Yusa corner-kick to put his side ahead.
The lead lasted just for seven minutes though. After a corner-kick, Mehtab found Shylo Malswamtulunga who curled in an inch perfect cross for Ranti Martins at the near post. The Nigerian did well to time his jump to restore parity for the Red and Gold brigade.
Thereafter, Dudu Omagbemi had a chance which was spurned as he saw his piledriver from inside the box sail over the bar in the 42nd minute.
There was drama in the stoppage time when Bagan appealed for a penalty when Bikramjit Singh’s shot looked to have struck the arm of an East Bengal defender but the referee wasn’t convinced.
Khabra was substituted at the start of the second half due to an injury he picked up as Joaquim Abranches made his way in.
Four minutes into the second half and Bagan had an opportunity to take the lead. Yusa’s free-kick saw Balwant head it wide.
Just before the hour mark, Kingshuk Debnath made a horrible mistake which went unpunished as he quickly made amends. He gave the ball to Martins but recovered in time to head it for Majumder in goal.
Play was restricted to the middle of the park for much of the second half as neither side was able to create openings.
In the 72nd minute, Bikramjit sent in a cross from the right which headed into the path of Norde by Balwant. However, a lack of communication between Norde and Boya saw the latter came into the former’s way which resulted in a miscued shot.
Two minutes later, Mehtab pulled the trigger from outside the box which failed to test the Bagan custodian.
Dudu let go of a chance in the 84th minute when he did well to get past Bello Rasaq but eventually ended up fouling Majumder.
Lalrindika Ralte finally got into the thick of things as he shot from outside the box as his effort went over the bar.
Majumder came to Bagan’s rescue as he kept out Martins’ shot in the stoppage time and ensured that his side at least pick up a point from the tie.
(Report & Picture courtesy I-League Media)