Wasteful East Bengal manages to hold Minerva 2-2

With the draw, Minerva Punjab FC remains on top of I-League table with 26 points while East Bengal is third with 20 points.

Action from the I-League clash between East Bengal and Minerva Punjab FC on Tuesday.   -  AIFF Media

East Bengal made a spectacular come back by erasing a two-goal deficit to hold visitor Minerva Punjab FC 2-2 in an I-League fixture at the Vidyasagar Stadium, Barasat on Tuesday.

Looking to make a winning return after suffering a 0-2 loss against traditional rival Mohun Bagan in its previous outing, EB suffered two blows in the first half as Sukhdev Singh and Chencho Gyeltshen fired in quick succession to give Minerva a 2-0 lead at the interval. The home side, however, fought back and recovered well to net two goals through Joby Justin and Brandon Vanlalremdika, who scored the equaliser in the dying minutes of the match.

After a good start, the host conceded the momentum and Minerva took the lead in the 20th minute when Sukhdev Singh made the most of an opportunity coming off a corner. The Minerva defender, who had moved upfront for the set-piece, was set up by Kamalpreet Singh with a chip in the box and the former found the net off his second attempt after his first was blocked by the EB custodian Ubaid CK.

Before the side could cope with a breach on goal, it suffered another blow in the 33rd minute when Minerva doubled its lead through Chencho. The Bhutanese striker made the most of a confusion between the East Bengal defenders – Bazie Armand and Eduardo – and scored from the loose ball coming his way.

EB came back strongly after the beak but continued to miss chances. Katsumi Ysa added to the host’s woes as his 50th minute penalty attempt was saved by the Minerva goalkeeper Kiran Kumar Limbu. East Bengal pulled one back in the 59th minute when Yusa's corner kick was headed in by Justin.

The host continued it efforts relentlessly for the next half an hour and found the equaliser in the 89th minute through Vanlalremdika, who made the most of a Yusa assist. Despite the draw, Minerva remains on top of the table with 26 points while East Bengal is third with 20 points.

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