Mohun Bagan hold East Bengal
A listless Mohun Bagan were saved by former Trinidad and Tobago World Cupper Cornell Glen as they managed to hold arch-rivals East Bengal to a 1-1 draw in the much-anticipated Kolkata derby of the I-League.
Nigerian Ranty Martins gave East Bengal the lead before Mohun Bagan pulled back through Glen as defending champions maintained their top spot in the table with seven points from three matches. East Bengal remained third with five points from three games.
Starting as favourites, Mohun Bagan dished out a lacklustre display in the first-half as East Bengal dominated the proceedings before Ranty Martins drew the first blood in the 63rd minute to break the deadlock in front of a strong turnout of 62,342.
A brilliant cross-field ball from left-half Bikash Jairu was met with superb agility by the all-time highest scorer in Indian national football league as helpless Bagan goalie Debjeet
Down by a goal, Bagan coach Sanjoy Sen finally brought in the in-form India forward Jeje Lalpekhula in place of Souvik Chakraborty in the 73rd minute, something that sped up their intensity.
Mohun Bagan finally arrested their slide in the 77th minute Glen's powerful header from a Sony Norde free-kick brought the much awaited goal for the home side.
Strange it may sound but Mohun Bagan coach Sen kept Jeje on the bench at the start as his strategy was a big letdown for Mohun Bagan who were on a two-match winning run and were tipped favourites to avenge their 0-4 defeat earlier this season, in the Kolkata League.
Their trump card in Norde too was a failure as he hardly was seen moving in with the ball with youngster Bheke doing a neat job in his left-back position as East Bengal coach Biswajit Bhattacharya's strategy which turned out to be a masterstroke.