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Air India hold East Bengal 1-1
April 23, 2006 20:04 IST
Local outfit Air India dominated Kolkata's glamour team and league leaders East Bengal before settling for a 1-1 draw in their National Football League clash at the Cooperage ground in Mumbai on Sunday.
Both the goals in the match came in the opening half.
The airmen could have won the important clash had they taken advantage of the chances that came their way, especially in the latter half in which they held the upper hand.
Air India took the lead in the 19th minute when Vijith Shetty rose with East Bengal custodian Abhra Mondal and managed to nod the ball in with a delicate header.
East Bengal neutralised the lead in the 29th minute when star striker Bhaichung Bhutia booted home from just outside the box after running to meet a long ball of Ndem Guy Herve.
The Kolkata outfit could have gone in front later in the half but Guy Martial headed a corner into the turf and the ball bounced over the cross piece.
That was the last good look East Bengal had of the Air India goal as the latter held complete sway over the proceedings in the second half during which the local team came close to finding the mark twice.
Binoy Kuruvilla headed wide a corner kick and then was unfortunate to see his on-the-run try, off a free kick by Bashiru Mohammed Abbas, hit the post. The rebound was booted wide by Paresh Shivalkar.
The draw helped East Bengal widen their lead at the top over second placed Mahindra United by a point. They have 28 points from 14 ties while AI took their tally to 15 from the same number of matches to move up the ten-team ladder.