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Mohun Bagan, Mahindra in keen draw

November 21, 2006 19:33 IST

Mohun Bagan's Brazilian talisman Jose Ramirez Barreto scored for his present as well as former club on Tuesday as the Kolkata outfit played out a hard-fought 1-1 draw with Mahindra United, which left both teams just a step away from the semi-finals of the Osian's Durand Cup football tournament.

Barreto put the Kolkata giants ahead with an opportunistic strike in the 22nd minute, but his attempted clearance off a James Singh corner found his own net in the 48th minute.

Ironically, Barreto had turned out for the Mumbai outfit last year when they did the double by winning the National Football League and Federation Cup.

In another match, Sporting Clube de Goa edged past Air India 1-0 on the back of a 72nd-minute goal by Nigerian Macpherlin Dudu.

Mahindra started as the brighter of the two sides and had the larger share of the possession.

Bagan came close to scoring when a snap shot by Dipendu Biswas was deflected off Peter Siddiqui and it needed a brilliant diving save by Mahindra keeper Amit Nandy to fist the ball past the post.

But the team from the eastern metropolis went ahead when a corner from Chinmoy Sarkar was not cleared effectively by defender Rauf Khan, allowing Barreto to control the ball and shoot into the bottom left corner.

The goal gave Bagan a lift and they seemed more assured after that.

For Mahindra, former national skipper S Venkatesh was a shadow of his majestic self. He got a chance to equalize before the break when Bagan custodian Sangram Mukherji spilled a stinging shot from distance by Bhola Prasad. Venkatesh reached the ball but shot high and wide.

But Barreto did his former club a huge favour just after the restart when he headed a James Singh corner into his own net while under pressure from Samson Singh.

The remainder of the match was a midfield scrap devoid of much goalmouth activity.

Barreto could have snatched a late winner, but his header off a Bijoy Basfore centre went wide.

Bagan coach Biswajit Bhattacharya said the draw was a fair result.

"We have lost a number of players who are on national duty. We had to constantly change players and formations. We are also not used to the ball being played," he said.

Bhattacharya's counterpart Derrick Periera said the forward line was not as sharp as it could be.

"The defence and midfield was good, but the attackers could not convert. However, it was a good performance."

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