KOLKATA: Mohammedan Sporting Club were held to a 2-2 draw by East Bengal in their Calcutta Football League encounter on Saturday.
East Bengal took a early lead through Mahmoud Al Amna (2nd minute) only for Jiten Murmu (20th) to equalize for Mohammedan SC before Aser Pierrick Dipanda Dicka (67th) put the Black Panthers ahead, however Willis Plaza’s (87th) late goal save the blushes for East Bengal at Kalyani Stadium.
The result meant Mohammedan SC remain on third position in the league table with 14 points while East Bengal moved to the summit with 19 points.
Going into the game, Coach Biswajit Bhattacharya made four changes to the side from the previous match by handing starts to Jiten Murmu, Tirthankar Sarkar, Dipendu Dowary and Rana Gharami at the expenses of Manandeep Singh, Satyam Sharma, Prohlad Roy and Harjinder Singh.
East Bengal started the first half on the front foot and unsettled the Mohammedan SC defense in the 2nd minute itself when Al Amna slotted home after Arnab Mondal set up the Syrian from Mohammed Rafique’s free-kick to put East Bengal 1-0 up.
Having conceded early on, Mohammedan SC began attacking with intensity through Dipanda, Kalu Ogba and Dipendu Dowary. The pressure paid off as Mohammedan SC restored the parity at the 20th minute mark. Kalu made a run down the left and squared to Jiten inside the box who then rifled a fierce shot past East Bengal keeper Luis Barreto.
Thereafter, both sides had a few chances in the later stage of the half but couldn’t convert as the scoreline remained one-goal-a-piece going into the breather.
Mohammedan SC came out strong in the second half and began attacking from the word go. However, the East Bengal defense managed to hold on and clear all the attacks in the opening quarter.
Nonetheless, Mohammedan SC’s constant pressure finally paid off as they took the lead midway through the second half. Jiten with a good solo run went past a couple of defenders on the right before cutting back for Dipanda, on the edge of the box. The Cameroonian striker kept his calm to get a first time shot which the rival keeper failed to handle and the ball ended up in the net.
The Black Panthers almost got their third goal in the 73rd minute when Shekh Faiaz and Dipanda combined on the left flank. A quick one-two sent Faiaz clear and the lanky winger cut past two defenders only for his powerful drive to go inches over the horizontal.
Afterwards, both sides engaged in some end-to-end stuff. While Mohammedan SC had the better chances to go further up, East Bengal capitalized on a defensive error as Plaza scored three minutes from the time to pull East Bengal level.
Mohammedan SC battled hard in the final minutes looking for a winner, but East Bengal managed to hold on defending deep as the game ended 2-2.