India TFA White held Iran to a 1-1 draw in a keenly-contested league encounter in the under-19 JRD Tata International invitation football tournament in Jamshedpur on Monday.
After a goalless first half, the Iranians took the lead in the 58th minute. The Indians restored parity through a powerful header by defender H R Mondal following a free-kick by Herry Zirsanga in the 74th minute.
The Iranians, who were reduced to 10 players after midfielder Syed Shahbuddin Mirmoshtaghi was given marching orders for rough tackling three minutes into the second half, took the lead in the 58th minute through their skipper Milad Nori. But the Indians pressed hard for the equiliser as the trio of Zirsanga, Vanlal Rova and Malsawma kept the pressure on the visitors.
The Indians' aggression paid off when Zirsanga was tackled from behind by an Iranian defender on the top of the box. Nepal referee Surendra Sikhrakar awarded a free-kick just outside the box. Zirsanga's free kick was headed home by the unmarked Mondal, leaving the rival custodian Syed Mahdi Eslami stunned.
Iran had drawn with Uzbekistan in their tournament opener last Friday.
India TFA White, which made two changes in the team that defeated an inexperienced Bangladesh 3-0 in their tournament opener on Saturday, made their first move in the 18th minute when striker Vimal Pariyar received a throw-in from the left, but his poor shot went straight into the hands of Eslami.
Iran retaliated within minutes and midfielder Nader Ahmadi banged a right-footer after receiving a cross inside the penalty box. However, goalkeeper Subrata Paul did well to collect the ball.
The outcome of the match would have been different had an Iranian player been present at the Indian goalpost to tap a ball sent out by defender Amir Reza Khanmohammadi in the last quarter of the match.
Though the visitors dominated much of the match, the home team playing before a sizable crowd, bounced back after the equilizer and intensified their raids on the opponent's camp, tearing apart their defence many a time but without success.