Ranti Martins missed a penalty and the chance to score his 200th goal in the country's top league as East Bengal were held to a 1-1 draw by Mumbai FC in their I-League football fixture at the Vivekananda Yuba Bharati Krirangan in Kolkata on Saturday.
On a three-match winning run that included one in the AFC Cup, East Bengal rallied from one goal down as Dudu Omagbemi's 56th minute smashing header cancelled out Joshimar d'Silva Martins' 33rd minute penalty kick.
Nigerian import Martins, who was eyeing a record 200th goal in the combined I-League and NFL, struck a poor penalty that stayed low and went straight to the hands of Mumbai goalkeeper Nidhin Lal in the 73rd minute to shatter East Bengal's hopes.
Having dropped points at home, the result meant that East Bengal's title hopes virtually went up in smoke as they failed to move up the ladder and remained on fifth position with 20 points from 13 matches.
Eighth placed Mumbai FC (14 points from 14 matches), on the other hand, continued their winless run.
The match was played in front of a crowd of 150 in the gigantic 120,000 capacity Saltlake Stadium as it was held behind closed doors after police refused to give protection because of the civic polls.
The crowd included a handful of mediapersons and some members who were issued separate cards for the match.
Pune FC down Dempo FC 2-1
Pune FC scored a hard-fought 2-1 win over Dempo FC, in an exciting match which saw both the teams reduced to 10-man, to move to third place.
Pune FC scored a goal in each half through Drako Nikac (9th minute) and Fanai Lalrempuia(68th) at Nehru Stadium, Fatorda.
While Dempo, who had better scoring chances, reduced the margin through substiute Tolgay Ozbey.
The win takes Pune FC to third place with 23 points from 14 matches. While Dempo FC remained on 8th place with 13 points from 13 matches.
Both the teams played attacking game from the start and always looked for opening which saw the visitors taking the lead in the 9th minute when defender Prabir Das failed to intercept Munmun Timothy Lugun cross from the left and Dhako Nikac shot home beating keeper Laxmikant Kattimani.
Just when Dempo started dictating terms to their rivals referee Ranjit Bakshi gave marching order to Prabir Das for abusive language against the referee.
After the change of ends, Dempo kept on the pressure and Carlos Hernandes who had a good match in the midfield saw his shot blocked by defender Edathodika.
Pune FC who did well to soak the pressure came with a counter move and increase the lead in the 68th minute when Fanai Lalrempuia who received the ball on the top of the box took an angular shot which rival keeper Kattimani dived but failed to put the ball out.
But Togay Ozbey who came as a substiute reduced the margin when his left footer beat keeper Aminder Singh.
Three minutes later, Pune FC were reduced to 10-man when Dhanpal Ganesh received his second yellow card.
Dempo tried their best but they failed to get the equaliser with substitute Clifford Miranda failing to find the net in the dying minutes.
Royal Wahingdoh beat Mohun Bagan
Royal Wahingdoh FC broke Mohun Bagan's unbeaten streak in the I-League recording a thrilling 3-2 win in Shillong.
Naoba Singh's superb long range strike in the last minute proved to be decisive for the hosts, who rallied back twice to tame the table-toppers whose dream to extend the lead at the top of the table in Shillong remained unfulfilled.
Post the win the Royals are sitting pretty at the second spot in the standings with 26 points from 15 games, while Bagan are still at the top with 28 points from 13 games.
While Balwant Singh gave the visitors the breakthrough in the 8th minute the hosts struck back through Jackichand Singh in the 60th minute.
Sony Norde then struck the second for the Mariners in the 80thminute. However, an 86th minute penalty converted by Densill Theobald following a hand ball by Balwant saw the hosts restore parity once again. But it was Naoba Singh who hit the final nail in the coffin for the Mariners striking as late as the 90th minute to take his side home.