East Bengal recover to hold Mohammedan Sporting 2-2March 1st, 2009 - 12:18 am ICT by IANS
Kolkata, Feb 28 (IANS) Three-time winners East Bengal staged a smart second-half rally to wipe out a double-goal deficit and finish with a 2-2 draw against Mohammedan Sporting in the second I-League here Saturday.
Mike Okoro and Eugene Gray struck for Sporting in the first session before Nirmal Chhetri and Sunil Chhetri restored parity for East Bengal at the floodlit Salt Lake stadium encounter.
After 17 rounds, East Bengal remained at the sixth slot collecting 23 points. Deep in the relegation zone, Sporting occupy the 11th place with 15 points.
The last two teams in the 12-horse race would be demoted to the second division of the league.
East Bengal, who had won their last three games, seemed unimpressive as Sporting took control of the game in the first session and went into the lead as early as the fourth minute.
Nigerian Okoro showed his presence of mind as he avoided an off-side trap set by the East Bengal defenders and reached a Rajib Ghosh lob before chipping the ball into the net over the head of an onrushing East Bengal custodian Abhra Mondal.
Eugene Gray made the scoreline 2-0 in the 29th minute by tapping in a Satyajit Bose offering.
East Bengal reduced the margin in the 48th minute as a measured flag kick from Renedy Singh was headed home by an overlapping Nirmal Chhetri.
The two sides came to an even keel in the 53rd minute as Sunil Chhetri followed up a bank-header from seasoned Ghanaian Yusif Yakubu to let loose a power-packed right footer that crashed into the net.
However, Sporting were distinctly lucky as another signature-tune corner from Renedy Singh was headed by Sunil Chhetri but the woodwork stood in the way.
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Tags: 53rd, custodian, double goal, east bengal, even keel, footer, horse race, mike okoro, mondal, parity, presence of mind, relegation zone, salt lake, satyajit bose, signature tune, sixth slot, three games, time winners, woodwork, yakubu