I-League: Bagan holds Mumbai FC with a last minute equaliser

Balwant Singh nodded home an 89th minute equaliser to help Mohun Bagan hold Mumbai FC 2-2 in an I-League fixture here at the Rabindra Sarobar Stadium on Wednesday.

Mohun Bagan came from behind to manage a draw against Mumbai FC.   -  Special Arrangement

Balwant Singh nodded home an 89th minute equaliser to help Mohun Bagan hold Mumbai FC 2-2 in an I-League fixture here at the Rabindra Sarobar Stadium on Wednesday.

Mohun Bagan took the lead off a Pritam Kotal volley but Mumbai FC made a remarkable comeback with two goals in two minutes to turn the match on its head. Thoi Singh sought the equaliser midway through the first half before his upfront colleague Victorino Fernandes gave the visitor the lead within two minutes. Mohun Bagan put up a prolonged struggle before Balwant fetched the equaliser just a minute from time.

Looking to keep itself in title hunt, Mohun Bagan found the lead early off a nice coordination upfront. Sony Norde moved up the left flank to find Balwant on top of the box. The Mohun Bagan forward, playing in place of an injured Darryl Duffy, set the ball square for an onrushing Kotal to volley home the lead in the 12th minute. Bagan looked in total control of the situation and could well have enhanced the lead if Jeje Lalpekhlua and Balwant himself has shown the right touch to finish two opportunities coming in the 10th and 18th minutes.

Mumbai FC converted the first opportunity coming its way in the 20th minute when Thoi Singh nicely diverted home an attempt from Pratesh Shirodkar. Exposing the inertia in the Bagan defence, which happened mainly owing to a lack of understanding between its two central defenders Brazilian Eduardo Ferreira and E. Anas, Mumbai FC found the lead in the 22nd minute. This time it was striker Victorino Fernandes who nicely shielded Eduardo to avail a cross from Reagan Singh (2-1).

Bagan, which played a goalless draw visiting Mumbai in the first phase, regained the dominant form after the interval but struggled to find the equaliser as its opponent pulled extra men in defence. Balwant saw his 74th minute header coming off the upright before Jeje wasted a sitter in the 85th minute when he shot straight at the Mumbai FC goalkeeper, Laxmikant Kattimani, from a handshaking distance.

Balwant finally got his act right in the 89th minute when he flew in to nod home a nice assist from Sony Norde, who got past a couple of Mumbai FC defenders to set up the floater on the goalmouth. Mohun Bagan tallied 22 from 11 matches while Mumbai FC collected 10 points from 13 outings.

The result: Mohun Bagan 2 (Pritam Kotal 12, Balwant Singh 89) drew with Mumbai FC 2 (Thoi Singh 20, Victorino Fernandes 22).

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