East Bengal was held to a 3-3 draw by NorthEast United FC in the Indian Super League at the Salt Lake Stadium here on Wednesday.
The opening session produced great entertainment with end-to-end action that produced four goals in the first-half, which was a just result for the two sides that went all out in search of goals right from the start.
The NEUFC started well, but East Bengal absorbed the early pressure and turned things around with the Brazilian forward Cleiton Silva nodding home the lead off a sharp header, in the 10th minute. The Highlanders, which is already out of the play-off race, played like a team that had nothing to lose and made repeated raids on East Bengal.
The home defence caved in finally when Parthib Gogoi scored from a long-ranger to bring up the equaliser for NEUFC at the half-hour mark. Before the East Bengal defence could recover from the blow, North East found the lead with Jithin M.S. finishing a nice-counter attack launched by his side, in the 32nd minute. East Bengal striker Jake Jervis announced his arrival at the ISL spectacularly as he got the host back on level terms with an acrobatic overhead kick in injury time.
The second session saw the contest continuing with the same intensity, and again it was East Bengal’s turn to get into the lead. The host was awarded a penalty in the EBFC were awarded a penalty, which Cleiton Silva drove home in the 64th minute. This was the 12th goal of the tournament for Cleiton, who rose to the top of the goal-scoring charts with his two goals in the match.
Just when it seemed that NEUFC was running out of time, Imran Khan produced the equaliser (3-3) to ensure a point for the visitor. The NEUFC could easily have realised its first ‘away’ win as it came really close to scoring on a couple of occasions but fell short on the finishing part to have the host escaping with a draw.
East Bengal FC 3 (Silva 10, 64-pen, Jarvis 45+2) drew with NorthEast United FC 3 (Parthib 30, Jithin 32, Imran 85)
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