Eight-time defending champions East Bengal FC had to dig deep to score a 2-2 comeback draw against archrivals Mohun Bagan AC in the Calcutta Football League – Premier Division ‘A’ at the Saltlake Stadium on Sunday afternoon.
Mohun Bagan were quicker off the blocks and when ahead through derby debutant Pintu Mahata placed shot off a Arijit Bagui cross in the 19th minute. Things looked even better after 29 minutes for the Mariners as Bagui this time set-up Ugandan striker Henry Kisseka to make it 2-0.
But in the 45th minute, East Bengal reduced the deficit. A Lalrindika cross from the right was headed goalwards by Costa Rican debutant Johnny Acosta, keeper Shilton Paul couldn’t control the ball and Acosta scored off the second attempt. At the break, Mohun Bagan were leading 2-1.
In the second session, East Bengal pushed for the equaliser and they got it in the 61st minute. A corner from Lalrindika Ralte was spectacularly cleared off the line by Shilton Paul but Laldanmawia Ralte was there to bang in the rebound.
Thereafter there were chances at both ends to win the game, but it ended 2-2 after 90 intense minutes.
Both teams now have 20 points after eight matches with Mohun Bagan ahead of East Bengal on a better goal difference.
East Bengal Club 2-2 Mohun Bagan AC
Goals: 0-1 Pintu Mahata (19′), 0-2 Henry Kisseka (29′), 1-2 Johnny Acosta (45′), 2-2 Laldanmawia Ralte (61′)
East Bengal FC: Rakshit Dagar – Samad Ali Mallick [C], Mehtab Singh, Johnny Acosta, Lalramchullova – Brandon Vanlalremdika (Surabuddin Mallick), Mahmoud Al Amna, Kassim Aidara, Kamalpreet Singh (Lalrindika Ralte), Laldanmawia Ralte – Joby Justin (Bali Gagandeep)
Mohun Bagan AC: Shilton Paul [C] – Arijit Bagui, Eze Kingsley, Lalchawnkima, Abhishek Ambekar – Britto P.M. (Azharuddin Mallick), Pintu Mahata, Sourav Das, Shilton D’Silva (Mehtab Hossein, Darren Caldeira) – Aser Dipanda Dicka, Henry Kisseka
Referee: Pranjal Banerjee
Man of the Match: Pintu Mahata (Mohun Bagan AC)