Mohun Bagan held by 10-man East Bengal in I-League

October 25th, 2008 - 11:50 pm ICT by IANS  

Kolkata, Oct 25 (IANS) Mohun Bagan failed to get the better of a 10-man East Bengal as the archrivals finished 1-1 in an I-league encounter here Saturday.Mohun Bagan went ahead in the second minute through seasoned campaigner Bhaichung Bhutia before East Bengal restored parity late in the same session with Syed Rahim Nabi capitalising on a defensive error.

East Bengal were reduced to 10 men in the 46th minute when right back Surkumar Singh was red carded for slapping Bhutia. The incident was triggered by a Rakesh Masi foul on Sur Kumar that saw the latter retaliate.

As Bhutia protested against Surkumar’s conduct, the East Bengal defender slapped him in the face and was promptly asked to leave the field by the referee.

But Bagan, yet to get their first win in the tournament, could not press home the advantage, which was a far cry from their resounding start in the match.

The green and maroon brigade drew first blood when medio Ishfaq Ahmed sent a long ball for Bhutia, who outwitted East Bengal central defenders Suley Musah and M. Suresh and then wrongfooted custodian Subroto Paul to put the ball into a corner of the net.

East Bengal tried to bounce back, but Mohun Bagan defence held firm for the better half of the first session.

However, East Bengal got the equaliser in the 39th minute as Yakubu snatched the ball from Marcos Pereira and essayed a pass inside the box to Nabi, who avoided his marker Peter Odafe and placed the ball home.

Besides the goal, Yakubu also played a pivotal role for his team in the attacking third. In the first half, he set up Surkumar with a gem of a pass, but the right back’s shot was just off-target. Then at the halfway mark, Yakubu’s 25 yard free kick hit the woodwork.

The game became dull in the second half as both teams lost their cool, and referee Pradeep Kumar flashed the yellow card time and again. Players took their protests too far. The East Bengal goalie made a very indecent gesture after being booked but got away with it.

After five games, East Bengal are on seven points, while Mohun Bagan have three.

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