Marco Pezzaiuoli’s Bengaluru FC side drew 1-1 with SC East Bengal at the GMC Athletic Stadium, in Bambolim, on Tuesday. A header from Thongkhosiem Haokip gave the visitors a first half lead, before an own-goal from Sourav Das restored parity in the second half. The result meant a tenth point on the board for the Blues, while SC East Bengal remain bottom of the pile with five points from nine games.
Earlier, the Blues made one change to the side that faced Chennaiyin FC as Udanta Singh, who scored in that clash, replaced Ajith Kumar. In the defender’s absence, Bengaluru set up in a three-man backline with Ashique Kuruniyan pushing forward into the role of an attacking wing-back. For SC East Bengal, Adil Khan made his first start of the season while three more changes were made to the side that drew with Hyderabad FC.
Pezzaiuoli’s side began on the front foot, and controlled proceedings for a majority of the opening half an hour before, against the run of play, the visitors took the lead. Having scored eight of their 10 goals this season from set-pieces, SCEB added one more as former Blues’ striker Semboi Haokip nodded home a take from Wahengbam Angousana to make it 1-0 to the visitors.
Bengaluru, strong on the dead ball themselves, had chances aplenty including a free-kick from Cleiton Silva that Alan Costa nodded over and a Bruno Ramires drive that sailed wide of the mark. Despite their best efforts, Pezzaiuoli’s side went down the tunnel without a shot to trouble Arindam Bhattacharja.
Pezzaiuoli rang in two changes at the break as skipper Sunil Chhetri and defender Pratik Chaudhari replaced Parag Shrivas and Jayesh Rane. The Blues restored just over ten minutes from the restart when Roshan Singh took a shot from distance that was deflected past Arindam in the SCEB goal.
Bengaluru pushed forward in search of the winner and almost found it when Chhetri found himself in space in the box but his shot was cleared off the line. The visitors had a chance to find the net late in regulation time, however Semboi mistimed his volley allowing Gurpreet to collect with ease as the sides shared the points in Bambolim.
Bengaluru next face Mumbai City on 10th January, at the Fatorda Stadium.