The battle of the giants lived up to its billing as Maharashtra and Kerala served up a high octane encounter and shared honours in a quarter-final league match of the Santosh Trophy National Football Championship, in Gurgaon on Tuesday night.
In another match, Tamil Nadu rekindled their chances of making it to the semi-finals with a 2-0 victory over Karnataka, with goals coming from S Sathish Kumar and Jotin Singh.
Maharashtra and Kerala went toe-to-toe in a highly charged atmosphere and ended the most enthralling match of the championship so far 1-1.
The two sides had met in the semi-finals last year, Kerala going down on home ground in Kochi despite dominating the game.
Maharashtra took the lead in the eighth minute when Kasif Jamal showed fine control to get past three Kerala defenders before shooting home past Jean Christian off the upright.
The early setback brought a swift response from the Keralites, who launchd one raid after another to keep the Maharashtra defenders under pressure.
Jamal was having a strong game and he kept testing the Kerala defence by taking shots from varying distances. Most of them were too close for Christian's comfort.
But the Kerala pressure told in the 29th minute when Abdul Nausad and Asif Saheer played a neat one-two in front of the Maharashtra box before the former shot home from the edge of the area giving no chance to Subhashish Roychoudhury in the Maharashtra goal.