Struggling for form in recent times, Mohun Bagan on Thursday put up a spirited display to hold defending champions Dempo 2-2 in a fourth round I-League match at the Yuba Bharati Krirangan in Kolkata.
Subair Muritala Ali gave Mohun Bagan the lead in the eighth minute before Cliffton Gonsalves drew level in the 36th minute. Dempo then took the lead with a Ranty Martins strike in the 79th minute but veteran Jose Ramirez Barreto, having earlier missed a penalty, shot home the equaliser in the 81st minute.
The Subhas Bhowmick-inspired Mohun Bagan began with some attacking moves, putting the Goan giants under pressure in the initial stages.
Their attack led by Muritala proved effective as the Nigerian forward gave Mohun Bagan the lead with a spectacular goal after right-back Nagimuddin did the spadework.
Muritala's early strike turned out to be the goal of the match.
Nagimuddin crossed from the right flank and Muritala's right-footer from about 25 yards gave Dempo custodian Laximkant Kattimani no chance.
Star striker Barreto, however, missed a penalty midway into the first half to deny Mohun Bagan the chance of taking a 2-0 lead.
Barreto's half-hearted attempt from the spot was easily anticipated by Kattimani, much to the dismay of Bagan fans.
Dempo meanwhile gathered steam and, in the 36th minute, a Carvalho header set it up for Gonsalves for the equaliser.
In the 41th minute, Dempo missed a sitter courtesy Ogba Kalu Nnanna, while at the stroke of half time, Ranty faltered.
With Dempo attacking on all cylinders, Mohun Bagan had a difficult time and seemed like conceding anytime even as custodian Shilton Paul stood tall with some impressive saves.
But its fragile defence again let the team down with Ranty opening his account in the 79th to go past Mohun Bagan.
Shilton deflected a Beto right-footer only to see Ranty finishing from the rebound.
Trailing by a goal, Mohun Bagan tried their best to fight back and found the equaliser within two minutes through Barreto's diagonal shot off a Muritala pass.
Bhowmick made three changes in defence, bringing in Sheikh Azim, Souvik Chakraborty and Nagimuddin Mollick who showed promise early on.
After four matches, Mohun Bagan have two points, while Dempo have five.