Nigerian striker Eneke Ikenwa scored in the dying minutes as Salgaocar SC denied East Bengal their first victory in the I-League, to finish 1-1 at the Vidaysagar Krirangan in Barasat on Thursday.
East Bengal dished out a better performance and it seemed they would come out of the agony of losing to Mohun Bagan after Abel Hammond gave the red-and-gold brigade 1-0 lead in the 13th minute of the round five match.
Playing without a coach after Subhas Bhowmick put down his papers following the 'derby' debacle, East Bengal looked positive with assistant coach Tushar Rakshit and senior most pro Bhaichung Bhutia guiding the side from the sidelines.
The first-half belonged to the red-and-gold brigade with their forward duo of Yusif Yakubu and Hammond complementing each other, showing a fine co-ordination.
Yakubu had an early advantage but the Ghanaian veteran shot directly to the goalkeeper Kalyan Chaubey in the sixth minute.
Seven minutes later, Hammnond however ensured that East Bengal go one-up when the Ghanaian striker shot from the edge of the box that beat Chaubey with the ball curling into the net.
Salgaocar custodian Chaubey thwarted East Bengal's every effort, as the red-and-gold brigade could not yield any more goals in the first 45 minutes.
East Bengal's much criticised defence did not have any trouble against the Salgaocar offence and their goalkeeper for the match Arup Debnath impressed with a few good saves.
Playing in place of Abhra Mondal, who had a harrowing run in their last match conceding five goals against Mohun Bagan, Debnath stood tall denying every chance from the Salgaocar strikers.
Salgoacar had a solitary chance in the first-half but Eneke shot straight to Debnath who did well to thwart few more shots in the second-half till the visitors brought in the equaliser in the 89th minute.
In a desperate bid to save a Francis Fernandes left-footer, Debnath chested the ball but it ricocheted which was found by Eneke who did not make any blunder this time as his team snatched one point from the match.
Looking good, East Bengal almost scored through Sreco Mitrovic who shot a superb angular right-footer off Mehrajuddin Wadoo but Chaubey did well to save it.
Awaiting for their new coach Philippe de Ridder, the draw however must have boosted their morale before they take on Viva Kerala and Air India in two away encounters.
The Goans now have five points after four matches while East Bengal have three points from five matches.