New Delhi: East Bengal came from two goals down to hold leaders Minerva Punjab FC to a 2-2 draw in an I-League encounter at the Barasat Stadium near Kolkata on Tuesday.
Sukhdev Singh (20th minute) and Chencho Gyeltshen (33rd) put Minerva in a commanding position in the first half. Joby Justin (59th) and Brandon Vanlalremdika (89th) pulled two back in the second to share the spoils and keep the Kolkata heavyweights in the title race.
With the draw, Minerva remained on pole position with 26 points from 11 matches while East Bengal are third with 21 points after 12 matches. Katsumi Yusa missed a penalty for the home team in the 50th minute.
Sukhdev put the visitors in front when he capitalised on East Bengal’s inability to deal effectively with a Kamalpreet Singh centre. The in-form Chencho then took advantage of another piece of slack defending by the hosts to put his team in control.
Liberian forward Ansumana Kromah made his EB debut, replacing midfielder Mehtab Singh in the 41st minute. But he failed to link up with Nigerian striker Dudu Omagbemi.
Katsumi then missed a penalty, won by Laldanmawia Ralte, the Japanese playmaker’s weak shot blocked by Minerva goalkeeper Kiran Chemjong. But he atoned by delivering an accurate corner, which was headed in by Justin. Vanlalremdika then netted from close range to secure a point for the hosts.