A 10-man Sporting Clube de Goa held home favourite Prayag United SC 2-2 in a 17th round encounter of the I-League at the Salt Lake Stadium, in Kolkata, on Saturday.
The consolation of wresting a point from the host appeared to be obscured by two ejections as Sporting found two of their players -- Jovel Martins and Adil Khan -- marched off with red cards.
Both sides came into the match riding on the confidence of winning their previous round matches. The Goa side found the lead early much against the run of play when midfielder Ogba Kalu bulged the United SC net with a long ranger in the 30th minute.
Before Sporting Clube could build on the advantage of their first-half lead, United SC restored parity just after the break. Seasoned James Singh did the finishing job in the 50th minute.
United SC doubled their lead three minutes later when Sporting Clube defender Jovel Martins brought down Joshimar inside own box. The resultant penalty was scored by the United SC stopper-back Bello Rasaq.
The home side looked certain to preserve the lead as Martins received his second booking in the 57th minute reducing Sporting Clube to 10 men. But despite the numerical disadvantage the visitors clawed back into the game and found the equaliser in the 86th minute off their Sudanese striker James Moga.
Sporting midfielder Adil Khan received a red card after the match for misbehaving with referee Magho Singh. The drawn result had United SC totalling 29 points from 17 rounds while Sporting Clube had 24 points from 17 matches.
Lajong-Pune split points
Pune FC rallied to hold Shillong Lajong FC 1-1, at the JN Sports Complex. Tuboi scored for Lajong in the 51st minute while Mandjou Keita pulled it back for the visitors in the 71st. Lajong moved to 18 points from 17 matches while Pune FC are on 28 points from 17 matches.
Lajong kicked off the game in an electrifying mood and created some good moves.
Pune FC's Subhash Singh was adjudged the Man-of-the-match.
Air India prevail over Mumbai FC
Mumbai FC crashed to their first loss in six encounters against Air India. Sandesh Gadkari made the difference between the two teams scoring as early as the 5th minute at the Balewadi Sports Complex Ground, Pune.
The match was just five minutes old when Sandesh Gadkari got a clearance in the right wing and moved up. He rushed right into the top of the box catching the Mumbai FC defence manned by Nicholas Rodrigues and captain Abhishek Yadav, unawares.
Gadkari fired a left-footer from around 45 degrees. The ball hit the netting and went out. For some time Mumbai FC defence kept wondering whether the ball actually went in, but the referee rightly signaled the goal.
With three full points, Air India raised their points tally to 24 from 17 matches while Mumbai FC stay on 14 points.
Mumbai FC had themselves to blame. Sukore tried his level-best to break into Air India forte but didn't get much support as Gbeneme Friday had an off-day
Air India's Lamine Tamba was declared the Man-of-the-Match.
HAL register first win
HAL, Bangalore registered their first win in the I-League when they banked Chirag Kerala 2-0 at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium. Malaemn Gamba drew first blood for HAL in the 7th minute while Hamza sealed the fate in the 89th minute. The victory took HAL to 6 points from 17 matches while Chirag stay on 11 points.
HAL's Gamba Meetei was named the Man-of-the-match.