East Bengal hold Mahindra 1-1

November 8th, 2008 - 12:42 am ICT by IANS  

Sushil KumarKolkata, Nov 7 (IANS) Mahindra United, Mumbai, failed to hold on to a second half lead and ended 1-1 against three-time champions East Bengal in a I-League outing here Friday.Mahindra’s joy in forging ahead lasted for only a couple of minutes as East Bengal striker Sunil Chettri cancelled the lead given to the visitors by Paresh Shivalkar in the Salt Lake stadium game played under lights.

After a barren opening session, Shivalkar found the mark in the 59th minute, captilaising on a defensive lapse. Striker Edeh Chidi’s centre from the right saw Shivalkar going virtually unchallenged with no East Bengal defender near him before wrongfooting rival custodian Subrata Paul.

But East Bengal - despite a colourless show - restored parity in the 61st minute, as the redoubtable Ghanaian Yousif Yakubu set up Chettri and the latter scored with a grass-cutting left footer.

Yakubu, who has just recovered from viral fever, played a pivotal role in East Bengal’s moves as he constantly harried the Mahindra defenders.

The Mumbaikars dominated the show, but were unlucky towards the end when Sushil Kumar latched on to a Surkumar Singh misspass, but ultimately his shot banged against the first post.

The woodwork proved spoilsport for East Bengal as well. In the 53rd minute, Yakubu did the spadework and fed Chettri, who lobbed into the crosspiece.

After five rounds, East Bengal lie at the sixth spot with seven points. Mahidnra, with three points in their kitty, occupy the penultimate place among 12 teams.

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