Formidable Mahindra United staged a late recovery to salvage a 2-2 draw against a determined Salgaocar, Goa in an evenly contested 10th ONGC National Football League match at the Cooperage ground in Mumbai on Monday.
After coming close to scoring within the first five minutes, Mahindra struck in the seventh minute when Yusif Yakubu headed home a cross from right winger Steven Dias.
Yakubu made amends after seeing an earlier try being fisted out by Salgaocar custodian Juje Siddi, just before an unmarked Jose Barretto headed wide off a Dias free-kick.
But Salgaocar ignored the early pressure and equalised in the 18th minute through striker Samson Singh who finished a neat pass from Brazilian forward Fabio Dos Passos.
The Goan side returned after the half-time to dominate the early part of the second half and were rewarded in the 53rd minute when 'Man of the Match' Jyothi Kumar put them ahead off a long shot from the right.
Kumar intended to centre the ball for Fabio but it deflected in off a defender and surprised the otherwise efficient Mahindra goalkeeper Sandip Nandy, who only a minute earlier effected a brilliant save off a Fabio free-kick just outside the box.
Desperate to prevent a loss, Mahindra pressed hard for the equaliser and came up with significant moves that went abegging. Among them was a 64th minute Barretto flick to the goal mouth that caused a skirmish but Dias and Yakubu fumbled in a crowded defence before the ball was cleared.